- McDonald’s announced it is the first major sponsor of OfflineTV, a collective of online content creators focused on the gaming space.
- The partnership will encompass sponsored livestreams, integrated content and in-person events like conventions. It had a soft launch last weekend at Anime Expo with a booth where fans could snap photos with their favorite OfflineTV personalities and buy limited-edition merchandise.
- McDonald’s said the deal aligns with its ongoing commitments to highlight diversity in media. The fast-food chain has continued to build out its connections to the gaming world as it chases Gen Zers who are glued to the channel and put greater stock in what online influencers have to say.
McDonald’s is leveling up its stake in gaming through a sponsorship of OfflineTV, an organization that commands more than 3 million subscribers across its YouTube and Twitch channels. This is the second gaming-related deal for the Golden Arches owner in the past year, following a tie-up with esports and entertainment giant FaZe Clan struck in August.
The OfflineTV partnership aims to do a bit of double duty for the Big Mac marketer. Beyond adding to its gaming bona fides, it squares with a recent push to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). McDonald’s has come under fire for some of its DEI practices and is currently facing a $10 billion discrimination lawsuit from media mogul Byron Allen that alleges the company operates a tiered advertising structure that differentiates on the basis of race.
Gaming historically has catered toward the young, white male crowd, but OfflineTV’s roster boasts talent from a variety of backgrounds. Top creators in the five-year-old collective include Scarra, Pokimane, LilyPichu, Disguised Toast, Yvonnie, Michael Reeves, Sydeon, Masayoshi and QuarterJade. Each has dedicated followings and their work for OfflineTV has generated nearly half a billion views, per the announcement.
McDonald’s previously collaborated with OfflineTV in December on a Los Angeles pop-up store that featured a virtual component for fans who weren’t able to attend in person. It was billed as McDonald’s first fan experience tailored to the metaverse. The brand is positioning a more formal backing of the organization as a way for its creators to potentially broaden their influence and activate around a wider array of marketing channels, though details on those plans were scarce.
"While providing OfflineTV more opportunities to create their authentic and light-hearted online content that fans love, we're proud this collaboration allows us to help amplify voices from different backgrounds, knowing [how] diverse the gaming community is,” said Elizabeth Campbell, McDonald's senior director of cultural engagement, in a statement.
The partnership with FaZe Clan similarly promotes a DEI angle and has manifested in events like a Thanksgiving-themed livestream on Twitch last fall.
Working with popular creators can form stronger bonds with young consumers who have spurned traditional media like linear TV in favor of social media and streaming. But creators come with their own audience demands and foibles that occasionally rub up against corporate brand mandates.
A member of FaZe Clan in June expressed dissatisfaction with a post from the organization’s main Twitter page that celebrated Pride. The personality, in a since-deleted tweet, said he didn’t “support any kind of LGBTQ or anything similar even if ‘FaZe’ does,” attributing the sentiment to his religious beliefs, Kotaku reported. The incident sparked both online outrage and rallies of support for the creator, speaking to how gaming isn’t free from the political flare-ups that have made social media marketing a minefield.