A new eSports webse series released by Geico in August has gone viral! For those that don't know, Geico is actually a sponsor for an eSports team called Team SoloMid (TSM). Convinced that the pro players are actually hackers, a crazy next-door neighbor named Russell drops in to investigate the newly moved in team. There is even Geico swag involved, of all things.
Russell is a text-book creeper, and you get to know him better as the series progresses. He becomes a key figure in the house, appearing even in different ads where TSM enters the spotlight.
Oh yeah, that's another thing. Geico's always been a prolific content creator (Example, the beloved Flo), and this is no different. The first two episodes came out on the same day, for prime binge and the brand themselves released video spotlights of 25-second ads that play on the storyline while promoting everything Geico sells. Check them out here:
Emergency roadside service and other features of Geico's mobile app:
Renter's insurance, which is easier to set up than Russell trying to open a jar:
Car insurance brought to you by TSM's Svenskeren
Enjoyed it so far? BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE, and Russell slowly gets to be just as annoying to us as he must be for the team.
This amazingly creative content is meant for esports fans—a demographic that's 70% male and 55% of that consists of 21- to 35-year-olds. Geico's even sponsored more personal stories that TSM posts on its own channels periodically:
This is all great and all, but Geico has quite the broad consumer range, its active involvement comes with the hope that it can grab the attention of mainstream consumers and more hesitant brands who are afraid of advertising in the eSports space. Esports as an industry has a reputation for being hit or miss, due to its new entrance into the gaming market. The popularity behind the industry is lead by the few and vocal figures of the community that fans absolutely love.
TSM in the web series seem completely normal. They are definitely older and more mature than what people assume these players are. They're kind of funny. What is really great is that we can get a feel for how these eSports teams operate daily: Most live together for whole seasons, in what is called a "Gaming House" which is used to better enhance the players abilities to work together. (Kind of like how you and your best friend know everything about each other because you're always hanging out).
Meanwhile, Russell serves as the typical person who doesn't really understand the industry or how it operates. His obsession over their expensive peripherals reinforces the sense that pro gaming is to be taken seriously, not just something a kid in a basement does while his mom brings down the snacks for him and his buddies.
Back in January Geico launched their Geico Gaming Twitter channel. This would be the start of their eSports marketing endeavors. Great timing, as this was when the industry started making truly big waves. By June, it was sponsoring TSM and even held a "One Nation of Gamers" Hearthstone tournament, which did very well.
Sponsoring an eSports team is an easy entry for brands who want to cash in on a trend they don't quite understand. Give Coca Cola, Red Bull and Nissan for example, as they too have started investing their assets in the industry but have not made strides to produce advertising content in quite a while. Geico brought it upon themselves to invest more into creating advertising content with the hope that their return on investment will get more young folks to open up policies with them.
We look forward to seeing more Brands get involved in the eSports industry, as it evolves and takes shape within our society.