- Bud Light, the official beer of the Overwatch League, has partnered with that esports organization to bring a moment from the Overwatch game to life, according to information provided to Marketing Dive.
- Fans at the Overwatch League Finals in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center on this Sunday, Sept. 29, will be able to participate in a real-life version of a moment in the "Overwatch" video game: moving a payload, which is a custom virtual vehicle in the game. In this case, however, the payload is a beer truck with Bud Light's knight and the word "Payload" shown on the side.
- The brand is inviting 100 fans (who must be at least 21 years old) to meet at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday to help move the payload from Lot A to Log G. To add an incentive, beer will not be served at the Center until the payload is moved.
With this latest marketing stunt, Bud Light has found a way to bring "Overwatch" to life for fans of the game and corresponding esports league. By reimagining the game's "payload" as a truck full of beer, the AB InBev brand has figured out a way to authentically and organically integrate its marketing into the gaming experience, which is a key component of successful esports marketing efforts.
The payload push is the latest effort by Bud Light parent AB InBev to become "The Official Beer of Gamers," to cite one of the trademarks filed by the company. The real-life integration can help the beer giant move beyond taglines to tangible experiences for consumers who play video games.
"Overwatch," which boasted 40 million players worldwide last year, has recently become the target of marketers looking to make a connection between their brands and esports. Coca-Cola's e-commerce store recently began selling specially-marked bottles that show icons of the Overwatch League's teams, which include Boston Uprising, Atlanta Reign and London Spitfire. Coke is the official beverage of the League.
A professional esports league dedicated to the video game "Overwatch," the Overwatch League is produced by developer Blizzard Entertainment — maker of the game — and currently has 19 geographically-diverse teams. The Grand Finals in Philadelphia offer a cash prize of $1.1 million and a championship trophy, and they will be livestreamed on Twitch, the ESPN app, overwatchleague.com and the Overwatch League app, as well as broadcast on ABC.
As if the prize money, huge audiences (a total of 380 million this year and 14% growth rate year-over-year) and multiple ways to view the finals weren't enough evidence of the maturing of esports, the key organizers in the field have now introduced new viewing metrics for advertisers. Sweden's Modern Times Group AB announced this week that it has enlisted that veteran of TV measurement, Nielsen.