Unilever has entered the eSports arena to market its Axe Hair products through some of the top Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) players in the world. The company has partnered with pro gamers Kevin “Hauntzer” Yarnell, Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, Jake “Stewie2k” Yip and Timothy “Autimatic” Ta from Team SoloMid and Cloud9 to promote grooming tips to eSports fans through social media photos and video content.
Rob Candelino, vice president of marketing and general manager of haircare at Unilever, told [a]listdaily that eSports is an international gaming phenomenon that is rapidly growing with millions of fans and a large following of young guys.
“Best of all, many of the eSports players have great hair and everyday style their fans want to emulate,” Candelino said. “These players understand the importance of looking their best whether playing in an international tournament or practicing at home in the team house. Partnering with eSports players is a great opportunity for Axe Hair to speak to fans about how easy everyday styling can be through the voice of the flourishing eSports community.”
Unilever is the latest non-endemic brand to enter into eSports to chase the global audience of dedicated gamers. Candelino said the digital campaign explores how these pros’ game day styling routine positively impacts their confidence and performance inside and outside the arena. “It’s exciting for us to be partnering with an iconic brand whose styling products make it simple and easy to style every day,” Ta told [a]listdaily. “Styling is an important part of our everyday routine, so the partnership is great for Cloud9.”
“Looking good and being confident is important to us, especially since we are role models to our fans,” Yip told [a]listdaily. “I want to inspire them to look and feel their best too and partnering with Axe helps to promote this message.”
Candelino said Axe Hair speaks to young guys (18-26) about confidence, attraction and the importance of daily styling. “The Axe guy has a variety of different interests and passions, one of which is gaming,” Candelino said. “This partnership is an important way for the brand to authentically connect with him.”
Social media and livestreaming has opened up a 24/7 window into the lives of pro gamers, which brands can tap into. “These professional gamers are constantly interacting with their fan bases online and on mobile,” Candelino said. “They livestream practice for hours each day and have direct access and communication to their fans and followers. They get questions both about gaming and about their lifestyle.”
Ta said his fans ask him about his hair all the time. “It’s important for us to look our best for them every day, whether we’re in the arena or not,” he said. “I like my hair to look natural, so the softening cream is my go-to and it takes me less than five minutes to do every day.”
Axe filmed Cloud9 and Team SoloMid on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Cloud9 Team House to show fans how they live, practice, prepare and style every day.
“ESports is a community of really passionate gamers who have a lot of heart for what they do,” Candelino said. “It is important for Axe to ensure that we are talking to our consumers in the most authentic way. These players are guys that the Axe target looks up to and respects, and they can genuinely talk about their daily styling routines and how it impacts their confidence and overall gaming performance.”
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