PepsiCo and Pizza Hut are courting soccer fans with an augmented reality “Score with Pogba” game as excitement ramps up for the final of Europe’s UEFA soccer championship on May 28. Paul Pogba plays for Manchester United and the French national team.
The AR experience allows players to control a virtual avatar of Pogba and challenges them to virtually dribble a soccer ball through obstacles to collect Pepsi and pizza along the way. Custom player cards that display game statistics encourage social sharing.
PepsiCo also teamed with KFC and Sky Pie studio to unveil a Rube Goldberg-inspired machine that serves chicken and Pepsi after being set in motion by Pogba and a soccer ball.
“Wherever sports, gaming and entertainment intersect, you will find Pepsi,” said PepsiCo’s Alexandre Chiavegatti in a press release.
How brands are harnessing sports, gaming and entertainment
Brands are increasingly finding value in that blend of entertainment, sports, esports and gaming to engage with audiences in fun, innovative ways.
Sheeva Banton recently wrote for SmartBrief about the benefits of blending branding with gaming.
“It reaches new audiences in the most engaging format of entertainment – active play,” Banton noted.
Other recent innovative examples of brands in this space include Michelob Ultra’s “McEnroe vs. McEnroe” film, which shows today’s John McEnroe playing a virtual younger versions of himself from key points in his tennis career.
And Jack in the Box launched a virtual drive-thru on Twitch to entertain the platform’s live audience and offer discounts and rewards to consumers stressed by the current financial climate – an important strategy to demonstrate empathy during a time of financial stress for many consumers.
Sports marketing has long been a popular strategy for marketers to engage with highly engaged in-person and live viewing audiences, but lockdowns throughout the pandemic have spurred brands and sports leagues to find different ways to connect and build fan communities.
Mobile games, AR experiences, the metaverse, live streaming platforms like Twitch and social platforms such as TikTok are among the channels marketers can use to engage fans.
A study by Morning Consult found that TikTok users are turning to social media to watch game and player highlights, sports news and behind-the-scenes content. Sports leagues and agencies said obscure, entertaining content performs well with TikTok users, since it helps them feel connected to sport personalities.
Younger sports fans in particular want to be met in the digital, social and virtual spaces where they hang out, and the marketers who engage them in those environments will help their brands stay in conversation with the next generation.
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