After a year when young consumers doubled down on gaming, Mtn Dew’s marketing is aggressively reaching out directly to young gamers…
In 2020, gaming boomed. YPulse’s Gaming report found that 94% of 13-39-year-olds play video games in some capacity—and that their gaming time increased across all devices in the last year. based on their own estimates, they have collectively spent $18 Billion on video game-related expenses in the last 12 months. Our Gaming data also found that 77% of 13-39-year-old gamers feel that more brands should be paying attention to gamer culture, and 56% don’t mind seeing advertising incorporated into video games. This, of course, presents a huge opportunity for brands across industries to reach young consumers, and many are amping up their marketing in games in a variety of ways.
Mtn Dew is one brand with a long history of targeting young gamers. In early 2019, they announced that they would be devoting 40% of their marketing dollars to specifically reach this young group. They released the MTN DEW AMP GAME FUEL drink as a permanent part of their product lineup that year, been active in sponsoring esports leagues, and credited their focus on gamers for boosting sales. But they haven’t stopped there. The brand is continuously rolling out new efforts to market straight to Gen Z and Millennial gamers, setting precedents and examples that other brands entering the space could follow. Here are just a few recent examples:
Tricked Out Controllers
YPulse’s recent Gaming research found that 80% of 13-39-year-olds play video games on consoles, and Mtn Dew has been unveiling consoles (and console accessories) to reach them. During a recent “Power up, Play On!” livestream event on YouTube, Mtn Dew and Papa John’s announced that they would be releasing a pizza-ordering gaming controller this year. The two brands teamed up to create a controller with a special button that allows gamers to instantly order their favorite pizza or Papadia sandwich from the food chain without having to stop their gameplay. As part of the campaign, they also introduced a “Power Up, Play On!” menu bundle that includes two Papadia sandwiches and Mtn Dew for $15—which players can order at the chain’s locations or site. The brands also announced that other “game-related promotions” will roll out later this year. Weird marketing has become more popular and we’ve also seen “novelty gaming gear” become a trend of late. At the end of 2020, Bud Light released a console/beer cooler, while KFC launched a console that warms up players’ chicken and snacks. And as a way to continue their connection with consoles, Mtn Dew partnered with Speedway to relaunch their year-long Year of Dew program which allows fans to enter for a chance to win exclusive prizes that include a “highly coveted gaming console,” promotions, and other surprises. Meanwhile, at their Mtn Dew store, they offer a “Do the Most” controller skin for those who want to customize the PS4 or Xbox controllers they already own—and it’s sold out.
Last month, PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew Game Fuel debuted a “direct-to-gamer” online store full of their soft drinks aimed at video game players and lovers, creating a direct-to-consumer channel for all their products targeting this audience. To celebrate its launch, the brand ran a contest to give away a PlayStation 5 console as well as a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War for fans who register on GameFuel.com for their Victory Pass Rewards loyalty program. Every time a rewards member buys cases of their Game Fuel beverages for free delivery, they’ll be able to unlock exclusive digital content, discount codes, and access to limited edition merch. But the site will also allow the brand to “collect first-party data on younger consumers who are interested in gaming and esports.” YPulse’s COVID research found that 60% of young consumers say they would like to buy products directly from brands online right now—with males even more likely than females to state this preference. More and more brands have set up DTC channels during the last year, but Mnt Dew shows that these efforts can be targeted to the unique groups who most love the brand.
High Profile Gamer Collaborations
When Mtn Dew launched their Game Fuel drink in 2019, they touted it as a beverage developed for gamers with ingredients “shown to improve accuracy and alertness.” Since then, they’ve worked with various gamers and esports. Last spring, Mtn Dew Game Fuel announced that they would be teaming up with one of the most popular, renowned Twitch streamers and gamers Dr Disrespect (who is known as the “Face of Twitch” and has 3.23 million followers on the platform) for a multi-year partnership. Dr Disrespect was part of the livestreaming showdown on YouTube where the Mtn Dew x Papa John controller was first revealed, and in the same month, the brand rolled out limited edition Dr Disrespect cans—which sold out in a few days. Among the other notable gamers they’ve partnered with include CouRage (33.2 million followers), Yassuo (2 million followers), and N0thing (653K followers). If there’s anything that 2020 proved, it’s that brand partnerships with celebrities and influencers are a near guaranteed way to increase sales for food and beverage companies—and we’ll likely increasingly see brands tap into gamers with millions of followers for these efforts. In fact, Tubefilter recently reported that Wendy’s teamed up with Twitch’s most popular gamers for an exclusive menu on Uber Eats featuring their favorite meals.