- Buffalo Wild Wings has partnered with Activision ahead of the game publisher's release of "Call of Duty: WWII" on Nov. 3, according to a press release made available to Marketing Dive.
- The brand is letting customers accrue multiplayer experience points for the video game by enrolling in and using the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin' Rewards loyalty program from Oct. 24 to Nov. 30. Diners can continue earning points through frequent purchases and by checking into the rewards app on a smartphone or in-restaurant tablet.
- Buffalo Wild Wings's Blazin' Rewards loyalty program launched in June and has attracted more than 3 million U.S. members since then, the release said.
With the tie-up, Buffalo Wild Wings is attempting to draw a large group of fans anxiously awaiting the release of the latest addition to the "Call of Duty" franchise into its new loyalty program. Loyalty programs are one way food brands are continuing to keep customers engaged with their business, especially as mobile apps make incentives and points easier to dish out.
The news is also the latest signal that Buffalo Wild Wings, a chain typically viewed as a sports viewing destination, is ramping up a marketing focus on video games. Last week, it announced it was partnering with e-sports organization Team Dignitas, kicking off with a "Buffalo Wild Wings Stream of the Month" program on the Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch — a popular destination for gamers. That partnership includes logo placement on Dignitas team jerseys, player appearances at restaurants, exclusive content and branding on monthly team live streams on Twitch and Facebook.
One reason tapping into the gaming industry is appealing to marketers is because the audience is generally more engaged with an app or a video game than they are with more passively consumed media like TV. The "Call of Duty" games have sold nearly 246 million units since the first game released in 2004, according to data from Statista. Buffalo Wild Wings clearly hopes the partnership will boost some brand buzz by linking itself to such a popular property and get wing-eaters to return to one of its more than 1,200 U.S. locations.
Another reason brands are interested in gaming and e-sports is because the category reaches a large consumer group of males between 21 and 35, a segment that's growing increasingly difficult to engage with traditional advertising.