- Honda next week will reveal a prototype of its 2022 Civic on Twitch, the video platform that specializes in livestreams for gamers. The automaker on Nov. 17 will show a special episode of its "Honda Head2Head" esports livestream at 5 p.m. PT, followed by the first look at the styling direction for the new Civic, per an announcement.
- Esports competitors Rachel Seltzer and MonsterDface will host the Civic reveal, which also will feature a live performance by rapper Cordae. Four top "Fortnite" players and four Twitch streamers including Benjyfishy, SypherPK, Jordan Fisher and Dakotaz will compete in the popular battle royale game during the livestream.
- In a significant commitment to leveraging digital to introduce the new Civic to consumers, Honda also will promote the Civic reveal among gaming communities on social media platforms Twitter and Reddit. The automaker also released a teaser video on YouTube for the upcoming model, which goes on sale in late spring.
Honda's reveal of the 2022 Civic is the first-ever live global debut of a car on a Twitch branded gaming channel, the automaker claims. This approach to introducing a new car promises to help the brand reach an audience of young adults who are key buyers of economy cars and who are most likely to watch livestreams on Twitch. The Honda Civic is the top vehicle for Gen Z and has been for millennials since 2011, Phil Hruska, manager of media strategy at Honda in America, said on an Advertising Week panel in October. The news also points to how automakers are looking to digital channels to help launch new vehicles at a time when in-person car shows and visits to showrooms are on hold because of the pandemic.
Honda has 2,300 followers on its "Head2Head" Twitch channel and has an opportunity to boost viewership with exclusive livestreamed programming that includes the "Fortnite" match among the esports competitors. The concert underscores how Twitch content is expanding, often by merging music and gaming. By promoting the programming among on Twitter and Reddit's gaming communities, Honda can reach an audience that's most likely to view livestreams on Twitch.
Twitch has 17.5 million daily visitors on average, according to data provided by Honda, which has made gaming and esports a significant part of its marketing efforts aimed at younger adults. Honda boasts the only auto-branded channel on Twitch with its "Head2Head" esports series that is in its third season, per the company. Honda also is the exclusive automotive partner of Team Liquid, the multiregional professional esports organization, and the Riot Games League of Legends Championship Series, per its announcement.
Many brands are ramping up their esports efforts even as total spending is expected to decline. Gillette, Campbell's and Oakley are among the brands that EA Sports added for the first time to its roster of sponsors for the Madden NFL 21 Championship Series (MCS21) video game tournament, which this year has a record prize pool of $1.4 million. BMW in April started sponsoring five of the world's top esports teams, a move the carmaker described as a "major expansion" into the category. In July, American Eagle Outfitters became the presenting sponsor for the launch of EDGE, an esports platform created by marketing company VY Esports.
As the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, Twitch's viewership is rising again, a trend likely magnified by the recent resurgence of coronavirus infections to record levels. It's too early to whether advertisers will cut their media spending as they did in early summer, or increase it to reach homebound consumers. The pandemic has led to diminished expectations for esports sponsorship growth, with researcher Newzoo in July downgrading its outlook for a second time. The firm cut its esports revenue forecast by 8% from prior projections, saying that global esports revenue would hit about $974 million this year and $1.19 billion in 2021 as the pandemic prevents event organizers from hosting live esports tournaments.