- Unilever-owned Axe launched its first esports campaign, according to information shared with Marketing Dive. Called "What's Your Move?," the campaign has been presented at the League of Legends 2019 World Championship.
- The brand is the official men's grooming partner of the league's global events, and the new campaign was created by ad agency 72andSunny Amsterdam. The campaign includes a 30-second video ad that presents a talking Axe can that delivers an iconic "League" line when sprayed: "Behold, the world ender."
- Additionally, two spots — "Chrono Break" and "Shop Button" — that humorously depict gaming will be shown during the broadcast of the World Championship. There are also Axe-sponsored activities at championship events in Madrid and Paris, such as an augmented reality dance cam for fans and an RFID-enabled gaming scavenger hunt at the Esports Village in Paris.
As the first men's grooming sponsor for "League of Legends," Axe is continuing its effort to align itself with youth-oriented sports, music and culture. The partnership with "League of Legends, announced last month, is its latest esports effort. Previously, the Unilever brand teamed with esports content and tournament provider Eleague, itself a partnership of Turner Sports and talent agency IMG. Axe also tapped Cizzorz, the influencer and gamer who belongs to the FaZe Clan esports team, to challenge men to show their best gaming skills in a social media contest.
While the "Chrono Break" and "Shop Button" spots have a gaming theme, they also tack closely to traditional men's grooming ads that make attracting the opposite sex a selling point of the product. However, in line with Axe's efforts to quell toxic masculinity, the ads key on men being more thoughtful when pursuing significant others.
Esports, or competitive video gaming, is a particularly vibrant marketing wagon for brands to hop aboard, with consultancy NJ Games predicting that the total audience will reach 380 million viewers this year, reaching an expected audience of 557 million by 2021. Esports ad revenue is expected to exceed $200 million by 2020, eMarketer forecasts.
The trick for a brand is finding the right angle and attitude that attracts attention and doesn't put off the picky gamer audience. Mastercard, for instance, knew that its brand wasn't as cool as, say, Nike or Red Bull, so it shipped packages of special swag with minimal branding to 40 social influencers. Similarly, Miller Lite last June created the "Cantroller," a 12-ounce can of beer that also served as a gaming controller.
For Axe, incorporating catch phrases and functionality from "League of Legends" into their ads could offer the push an air of authenticity.