Hisense has jumped into the eSports fray. The Chinese consumer electronics company has partnered with eSports powerhouse Evil Geniuses to market its line of products, including 4K TVs, to console gamers who follow games like Halo, Call of Duty and Street Fighter 5.
The marketing sponsorship, which makes Hisense the official television sponsor of Evil Geniuses, will run through 2017 and feature a variety of co-branded events, a presence at major eSports tournaments in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Seattle, and extensive digital activations aimed at bringing technological excellence to the gaming community. Additionally, Evil Geniuses team members will help drive awareness through targeted Hisense events across the country.
Mark Viken, vice president of marketing at Hisense USA, discusses the opportunities that eSports opens up for its brand in this exclusive interview.
How long have you been looking at this growing eSports industry and why did you decide to enter now?
We’ve had our eye on the esports industry for a while. The audience is now at more than 225 million and growing at a rate of more than 30 percent annually. Plus, it’s a natural partnership for us —our target demographics are similar, and gamers are looking for technologies we specialize in like great picture quality and low lag time.
What opportunities does the global esports audience that Evil Geniuses connects with open up for Hisense?
Good gear is the mark of a good gamer; we want Hisense to be synonymous with gaming excellence. Being the official TV of Evil Geniuses offers adds to our credibility in the gaming space. To that end, Evil Geniuses will be traveling to our R&D facility in China to discuss how we can make our TVs even better for the ultimate gaming experience.
What types of co-branded events do you envision working with Evil Geniuses on?
We’re currently working on a variety of activations across the country. We’re announcing an activation that we’re calling the “Dual Threat Challenge,” bringing Evil Geniuses and NASCAR together for the first time. NASCAR racers Erik Jones and Clint Bowyer, Evil Geniuses and two lucky fans will be part of a Halo tournament on the 16,000 square-foot screen at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the weekend of the Hisense 4K TV 300. We’re really excited about bringing this activation to life and other experiential opportunities for esports and sports fans in the near-future.
What role will team-created videos or videos featuring the teams play in marketing to this eSports audience?
We know how important authenticity is to the gamer community so that will be our main focus as we approach content.
How will you work with Evil Geniuses in coming up with humorous or entertaining ways to connect with the gaming/eSports audience?
While humor and entertainment are always an important part of our marketing initiatives, our goal with our Evil Geniuses partnership is to create an authentic, seamless partnership that genuinely resonates with gamers and showcases how Hisense products can enhance the overall gaming experience. We look forward to exploring ways to creatively weave together the Evil Geniuses and Hisense story. The Dual Threat Challenge is our first execution on this front.
What tournaments/events are you targeting and what TVs will you focus on for hands-on opportunities with fans?
In addition to the Dual Threat Challenge, we are planning a wide array of activations throughout the esports season. From a product perspective, we’re focusing on the best-selling Hisense H8 with low lag time.
What type of messaging about the Hisense brand will you be marketing to eSports fans?
We’ll share messaging around key product benefits, including immersive picture quality and low lag time, as well as overall premium technology that’s accessible for all esports fans.
What separates the Hisense brand from the competition?
Well, first and foremost, we offer our customers affordable luxury. They are getting state-of-the-art product quality at an accessible price that comes with excellent customer service and world-class partners.
What role do you see Evil Geniuses teams across Call of Duty, Halo and Street Fighter—all console games—playing in connecting with gamers who may want to upgrade to 4K TVs?
Fans are always looking for tips and advice from their favorite gamers. Evil Geniuses are the best of the best and offer the credibility we’re looking for. Their confidence in our 4K TVs speaks volumes, which we hope will resonate with their fan base.
The esports landscape, to date, doesn’t have a lot of TV brands attached yet. What opportunities does this early move to esports open up for your brand?
The esports market is growing so rapidly and we don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. Being one of the first television brands to get involved makes it even more exciting; lets us really put a stake in the ground. Plus, we can learn even more about what gamers are looking for in displays so that we can continue to build world-class televisions.