How Twitch Gaming Landed Ally Financial, American Eagle as Official Marketing Partners | The Salesmark

How Twitch Gaming Landed Ally Financial, American Eagle as Official Marketing Partners

How Twitch Gaming Landed Ally Financial, American Eagle as Official Marketing Partners

Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch has always been gaming-centric, but it has been working to expand its brand sponsorship opportunities and custom activations to more partners and content areas.

Walker Jacobs, its chief revenue officer, was joined by executives from two recently added official marketing partners for Twitch Gaming that go beyond “traditional” gaming brands—Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally Financial, and Ashley Schapiro, vice president of marketing, media, performance and engagement at American Eagle—on the Going Beyond Esports panel during Adweek’s Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit Monday.

Pointing out that the largest share of esports viewership is happening on Twitch, Jacobs said the company came to the realization that so much more was happening in gaming that could be adequately packaged and presented for viewers and brands, including brands not native to the gaming space that “wanted to come in, show up authentically, a partner in an authentic way and add to the gaming culture and the gaming family that comes together on Twitch Gaming.”

Brimmer said partnering with Twitch was “a pretty simple decision” for Ally, a digitally native brand that considers itself “aggressive and progressive in terms of the things we’ve done around gaming,” having created several games in the past two years to help educate people about finances.

Ally sponsors a Money Moves segment on Twitch, and the digital financial services company also created an island in Animal Crossing, which it debuted on Twitch, and developed a world within Minecraft, Fintropolis, in partnership with historically Black colleges and universities to mentor students and help teach financial literacy to middle school students.

The company also teamed up with DC Comics to bring back Milestone Comics, initially founded in 1993 by a coalition of Black artists and writers, and open up more opportunities in that realm for Black and diverse creators.

Schapiro noted that the approach was different for American Eagle, saying, “We’re a culture brand. Youth culture is about this collision of all of the things our kids love: gaming, esports, music, pop culture”.

American Eagle has a relationship with influencer and creator Matthew Meagher, who organically works the brand into his live conversations with followers, and who, Schapiro said, “screams the AE kid when I see him”.

The company will also debut a docu-series featuring streamers on Twitch in December.

“My dream is for AE to be synonymous with gaming,” Schapiro said, adding that the partnership with Twitch “helps us to push further into being the uniform of gamers”.

Creators were a key focus during the session, with Jacobs calling them the fuel that makes Twitch go and Schapiro adding, “Twitch puts the creator first and puts the brands in their hands. They engage in authentic conversations but tell it from their lane. How does it show up authentic, and not us having a logo saying, ‘Please buy our jeans because we’re the uniform of gamers?’ That is the dance of marketing”.

Ally has a different viewpoint due to the nature of its business.

“Finance isn’t sexy,” Brimmer said. “it’s one of those things that we all need to know about, but it’s really hard to get people excited to wake up in the morning and learn about finance”.

The panel concluded with the three participants sharing their key takeaways.

“As gaming grows in popularity, Twitch Gaming provides advertisers with authentic partnerships that reach today’s most enthusiastic gaming audiences,” Jacobs said noting that 79% of people over 13 in the U.S. identify as gamers, but “they’re also athletes, artists, chefs”.

“If you want to be youth culture, you need to adapt to what youth culture is today, not what youth culture means to you,” Schapiro said. “Today, it’s gaming and esports”.

“It used to be that you were a gamer or you were a jock,” she explained. “Twitch takes all of those stereotypes and melds them together. You can’t show up as a soccer mom in these spaces where kids are. You have to show up like they want to show up. Adapt and evolve your thinking to what youth culture is today. It is not one note: It is many, many notes”.

Finally, Brimmer’s key takeaway was, “Don’t get left behind by sleeping on esports because you think it’s just a bunch of guys in their basements”.

She warned, “Get on board with the understanding that this is where your brand needs to be. If you don’t get in now, you’re going to be left behind”.

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