- Hershey signed a sponsorship deal with Twitch to boost exposure on the live video-streaming platform and at esports events, the Esports Observer reported. Hershey's and Reese's candy brands will appear in video spots on Twitch.tv and be featured at TwitchCon North America, the annual gaming event scheduled for September 2019 in San Diego.
- The candy giant also is sponsoring Twitch streaming influencers Tim "TimTheTatman" Betar, Ben "DrLupo" Lupo and his wife, MrsDrLupo, in a deal that includes product placements, branded streams and meet-and-greet opportunities for fans. The Hershey's and Reese's logos will appear on their Twitch channel pages, and they will promote the brands in social media posts.
- Hershey's sponsorship lasts through the end of the year and will include collaborations with other influencers. Hershey's influencer program started with a special Easter stream from Betar that gave viewers a chance to collect digital eggs and be rewarded with Twitch Bits, the platform's virtual currency, Cynposis reported.
Hershey in the past year has made a bigger push into gaming and esports to reach younger consumers who are the biggest consumers of candy, especially during special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter. Twitch's audience is 82% male, and 55% are in the 18 to 34 age group, per data compiled by social influencer platform MediaKix. Their engagement with gaming content is appealing to advertisers like Hershey that are trying to reach younger audiences who are more likely than older cohorts to rely on their smartphones for media consumption.
Last year, Hershey partnered with gaming influencers Betar and Tyler "Ninja" Blevins to promote its new Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar with Reese's Pieces during streams for TwitchCon, per a separate Esports Observer report. Hershey's sponsorship of the event included a booth where it handed out free samples of the candy to attendees. "While we're not endemic — we're not making games or hardware — we fit into the culture," Charlie Chappell, Hershey's head of media and communications planning, told PR Week.
Hershey is among the brands that are putting more sponsorship muscle into gaming. AT&T in March became the founding sponsor of a mobile esports league called the ESL Mobile Open, created by esports organizer and producer ESL. Intel, Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz and Miller Lite are among the major brands that sponsor esports events or teams. Corporate sponsorship of esports tournaments is expected to surge 34% to $457 million this year, Newzoo said in a separate report, as the esports and gaming industries continue to swell in popularity.