NEW YORK: Dr Pepper, the soft drink, has been able to tap into residual brand equity in the eSports space, a marketing channel it has re-entered after an extended gap in its sponsorship efforts.

Blaise D’Sylva, Keurig Dr Pepper’s vp/media and entertainment, discussed this subject during a session at the 2018 XLIVE Esports Summit.

He referenced the brand’s early activity in the eSports arena, which included becoming the official sponsor of Major League Gaming (MLG), the eSports league, as far back as 2008. A few years later, though, its attention shifted to college football.

“We went away from eSports and gaming for a number of years, partly because we had such big commitments with our college football sponsorship,” said D’Sylva. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Why Dr Pepper entered the world of eSports … for the second time.)

The gridiron program is still a vital component of Dr Pepper’s strategy, but the brand returned to the virtual playing field in January 2018, when it was named as a sponsor of Team SoloMid (TSM) – an eSports group with several professional teams.

“We decided in the last year that we wanted to revisit the eSports space and figure out what should we doing in this space,” D’Sylva said.

One motivation behind this latest sponsorship decision, he conceded, was simply the rising “buzz,” “publicity,” and popularity of this pastime, which attracts a huge audience of young, male consumers.

“Something that’s always concerning to us as you look at consumer media habits is: What are we doing to reach that younger consumer, the 18–24-year-old consumer?” D’Sylva said.

“From a media standpoint, it’s: what are the things that we can do that will really focus in and target in on that younger consumer? And that’s where eSports and gaming in general does such a great job.”

And research conducted by TSM, Dr Pepper’s current eSports partner, demonstrated that the brand’s past efforts have not been forgotten.

“When we engage with our audience – we obviously do a lot of brand studies – and try to understand what brands are indexing best, Dr Pepper always comes to the top of the list,” said Brad Sive, TSM’s chief revenue officer.

“They were in early and they have an authentic brand with the community, in particular with League of Legends … So it was really easy to bring them in.”

Sourced from WARC