Insurance company, Geico has a history of creative marketing, and its latest efforts take audiences behind the scenes of professional eSports team, SoloMid. Team SoloMid (TSM), known for competing in League of Legends, all live and practice in the same house, as is common in the industry during competition season. Geico created a scenario in which Russell, an obnoxious neighbor, barges his way into their home and comedy ensues. Russell suspects that the boys are hackers because of their high-tech equipment, but makes himself right at home when he learns their true identities and it seems they will never be rid of him.
— GEICOGaming (@GEICOGaming) August 19, 2016
The first two episodes of TSM’s New Neighbor are live on YouTube and shot in a low-budget, reality TV style—cutting between various scenes and interviews with team members. The low-key, “obviously not an actor” nature of each team member makes the branded content seem natural, and their reactions could be described as “subtly amused.” Aside from receiving a shipment of Geico swag in the first episode, the company doesn’t shove its branding down the viewers’ throat. Rather, the adventures of TSM and Russell are stories as presented by the team, and we learn through the rather desperate eyes of Russell as he explores this new world of competitive gamers and becomes the butt of practical jokes.
TSM uploads a lot of behind-the-scenes content on their own, making them the ideal candidate for Geico’s campaign. The team also filmed a number of short commercials telling viewers about different Geico offerings, all while Russell interrupts in some way. The commercials then encourage viewers to check out the TSM’s New Neighbor series.
Thus far, the content doesn’t show actual gameplay or techniques (for obvious copyright purposes) but instead creates an inside look at what it might be like to live in a house with professional gamers. This creates an accessible entry for non-gamers to learn a bit about eSports and TSM, themselves. The guys are great sports and seem to have fun with the promotion, which has garnered over half a million views on the team’s channel alone. With this series, Geico illustrates how storytelling can transcend industries and demographics, making viewers feel at home inside TSM’s home.