When last May, the NBA launched a global campaign for “how the NBA has developed this sport, has increased its community and impacted on the culture throughout the history of the league” and thus consolidate its role of reference in basketball He did so by creating campaigns for television, making use of key moments (and thus nostalgia) and generating content.
He also did it by positioning himself in Fortnite: the NBA began to sell the 30 kits of the teams participating in the league in the Item Shop of the game and created a special experience. As explained then in a press release, Fortnite players could enter the Creative Mode of the game to visit the NBA Welcome Hub and thus access “more experiences related to the NBA and content about the campaign.”
The move made sense. If the NBA wanted to connect with and bond with young consumers, it had to go where these consumers were. These consumers spend more and more time in the world of games and Fortnite is one of those that takes peaks of attention.
After all, the basketball league is far from the first to use Fortnite as a lever to connect with audiences. The football has already done in the past: 23 soccer teams from around the world took to position their shirts and create special actions for the game.
Fortnite’s potential isn’t just limited to brands that are directly linked to sports. In reality, any brand can take advantage of its potential and position itself in this area. Nike was one of the pioneers and sold sneakers as virtual goods in the game.
She is not alone at all. Carrefour has been one of the last and has launched its Healthy Map in the game, an in-game game in which players can “heal” by consuming fruits, vegetables and fish.
The hypermarket chain presented the game a few weeks ago, stating that it was an “opportunity” to reach “a new target group, gamers, on the food transition.” The game has been created by experts and allows you to reach the “Carrefour of tomorrow”.
Adapt to that environment
And, as they explain in a column in Warc, games make it possible to reach more and more consumer niches. The average age of gamers is now, in fact, between 35 and 44 years old, although Fortnite reaches a much younger average audience (even so, 13% of its users are between 35 and 44). More and more people are playing and spending more and more time on them: gamers are a way to reach a larger audience niche, doing so in a much more immersive and fluid way.
You are not simply positioning ads, you are making those ads an organic part of the game. Consumers play with the brand. This implies, following what they point out in Warc, changing the mentality and how things are done. Creativity must fit that scenario and follow the norms of that context.
Things have gotten a bit more complex. They need to understand what is expected in that environment and what will make consumers enjoy brand meddling. Companies cannot recycle what they are doing on other channels or expect similar reactions. They must learn a new language from scratch and navigate these new waters.