Game Advertising On Instagram: The Costly, The Effective And The Free

Instagram and video games have a lot in common, from visual-seeking audiences to target age groups. Many games advertised on Instagram have yielded positive results thanks to a variety of engagement options, although rising cost-per-click (CPC) prices may inspire a more organic approach.

According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the average US gamer is 33 years old. Luckily for game marketers, it’s a great match. The largest group of US Instagram users is between the ages of 25-34, per eMarketer.

Cost Vs. Reward of Games Advertised on Instagram

Instagram is part of the Facebook Audience Network, so prices are subject to demand. To give you a general benchmark, however, AdStage reports median CPC for Instagram Stories placement to be $0.76, cost per mille (CPM) $3.96 and a click-through rate (CTR) of 0.54 percent in Q2 2019.

Feed ads appear to perform better, according to AdStage, with a CTR of 0.88 percent. CPC is lower, as well, at a median of $0.67. The trade-off is a higher CPM at $6.09.

Cost-per-install prices have lowered for iOS over the past few years when compared to 2015, although it increased for Amazon. The most recent US cost-per-install prices according to Chartboost are:

  • iOS Average: $1.44 ($2.23 in 2015)
  • Amazon Average: $2.09 ($1.78 in 2015)
  • Google Play Average: $1.33

Note: Chartboost figures in 2015 were broken down by iOS platform and did not include Google Play.

Case Studies

Mobile game developer Huuuge Games used Instagram Stories to boost awareness for its Huuuge Casino app, according to a case study published on Instagram Business. The developer launched full-screen Instagram Stories featuring slot machine gameplay with a call-to-action to “Play Game.”

Huuuge Games reports that the campaign yielded a 61 percent higher return on ad spend at a 24 percent lower cost per acquisition. In addition, the developer saw a 91 percent increase in payers’ rate for the free-to-play (F2P) game, indicating a motivation to purchase optional add-ons.

If awareness is your primary game marketing objective, it’s wise not to forget earned media value. King partnered with South Korean pop group BlackPink to promote Candy Crush Friends with a series of owned, organic posts on Instagram. 

In one segment, BlackPink members Lisa and Jisoo attempted to imitate dance moves as performed by Candy Crush Friends animated characters. The August 27 video has reached 219,254 views as of this posting, which is valued at roughly $24,178 in earned media value according to a.Network’s Earned Media Value Index (a.EMVI).

Instagram For Indie Games

Social media marketing isn’t just for AAA game titles—in fact, many independent, aka indie, game studios find tangible engagement around their projects on Instagram.

Sky: Children of Light is an upcoming mobile RPG title from Thatgamecompany that has nurtured an audience on Instagram. The developer’s main strategy has been to invite audiences to contribute creative content via fan art, music, etc. This gives future players a reason to share their inspiration and feel connected with Sky’s creators.

Another tactic used by game developers and publishers of all sizes is to create one large image using tiled posts. This encourages fans to engage with each of the images separately, increasing curiosity and engagement, such as this post on CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 profile, which garnered a combined total of over 60,000 views in the span of just eight hours. 

Visual Platform, Visual Product

“Being image-based, Instagram is arguably the best platform for branding,” freelance game marketer Bee Wakefield told developers at the Career Fair in April. “With clever color use you can match your style and theme to your game and keep it consistent throughout campaigns.”

With a plethora of new features and ecommerce integrations being implemented on Instagram, it could be time for game developers of all sizes to take another look at advertising options on Instagram.

How Brands Use New York Fashion Week 2019 To Reach Consumers On And Off The Runway

It’s that time of year when the glamorous madness of fashion weeks around the world begin. The eyes of the press, influencers and consumers will be locked on the runways, but brands certainly try their best to steal some of the star-studded spotlight. From food companies to YouTube, who launched a long-overdue Fashion vertical right before FWNY 2019 opened today, it seems, everybody wants to be part of the sparkling Fashion Week hype.  

AList provides a glimpse into how fashion and non-fashion marketers are using the event to reach opinion-shapers worldwide.

Schick Hosts “The Baldest Party Ever”

Personal Care brand Schick proves that style comes in all shapes and celebrates baldness with the Schick Xtreme line of disposable razors. At FWNY, Schick will host “The Baldest Party Ever” on Friday, September 13. 

Per the company, the official BIP (Bald Important People) party will feature red-carpet head shave stations, DJs spinning bald mega-mixes, along with other extreme experiences. 

To attend, consumers can join BIP club and RSVP for the “Baldest Party Ever” at, where they can also scan their head through Schick Xtreme’s proprietary Bald Detection Technology.

Amazon Brings Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Lingerie Show To Subscribers’ Homes  

Amazon Prime Video subscribers will be given an exclusive opportunity to stream the Fall/Winter 2019 collection of the second annual Savage X Fenty show debuting during this year’s New York Fashion Week. The brand’s fans from over 200 countries will be able to watch the show on Sept. 20 with a pleasant bonus–a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show, consisting of performances from some of the hottest acts in music, feature models, actors and dancers wearing styles from the collection. 

Cheetos Opens House Of Flamin’ Haute

Cheetos announced it will open the doors to its House of Flamin’ Haute during FWNY 2019. 

Lucky house guests can expect to witness the brand’s first runway show, curated by fashion influencers and stylists @luanna, @Hungry Hipsters, @thenavarose and @stylistjbolin, and featured a signature look designed by costume designer Ami Goodheart. There’s also a special style bar. 

As a part of the fashionable campaign, Cheetos’ fans were asked to share their own “looking like a snack” look using the brand’s #CheetosFlaminHaute hashtag on Instagram.

SweeTARTS Collabs With Designer To Celebrate The Freedom To “Be Both” 

Another food brand, SweeTARTS, partnered with Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) designer Christian Siriano on SweeTARTS “Be Both” campaign. 

Within the initiative, Siriano designed a custom couture look inspired by the brand, which celebrates the freedom to be “more than one thing.”

“It’s impressive to see a candy brand really think about the world today, and want to be as inclusive and diverse as our society is becoming. This project was such a great fit for me because this is how I design and live my life every day! Anyone can be anything, and even candy can be more than one thing,” Siriano said in a press release, announcing the collaboration.

The ensemble will make its public debut at Siriano’s runway show during the upcoming New York Fashion Week, worn by a special celebrity guest who will be seated front row.

Cha Cha Matcha Drinks Chain Throws “Cha Cha Block” Party 

The matcha café Cha Cha Matcha invites FWNY 2019 goers to its block, offering a chill zone for chatting, lounging and napping, a lemonade stand stocked with new iced teas, matcha-flavored cotton candy and limited-edition merchandise and matcha giveaways. 

“Keep it PG, this is a sidewalk,” the company joked in an Instagram post about the event.

GENIFER M Jewelry Premiers Cannabis Collection

Designer, Korto Momolu, who is famous for her dashing designs on Project Runway, will collaborate with Women Grow and GENIFER M Jewelry to deliver high fashion designs that embody the power and influence of women in the cannabis movement on September 7th at Fashion Week New York. 

The collection will feature hemp-based fabrics, as well as GENIFER M Jewelry pieces.

UNIQLO Offers An Immersive Experience

UNIQLO literally invites guests inside LifeWear magazine at its immersive experience during NYFW 2019. UNIQLO’s LifeWear lounge will reflect the pages of the magazine’s first issue: from styling stories to interviews with Roger Federer and its Fall/Winter 2019 collection. The exhibit goers will be able to relax and, of course, satisfy their Instagram needs. 

UNIQLO will also host a global exhibition during Fashion Week London from September 17 to 22.

Fresh Produce To Sponsor TheCURVYcon 

The women’s apparel brand focused on body-positivity, Fresh Produce, will sponsor theCURVYcon 2019. The three-day event will be held during New York Fashion Week 2019 with the goal to “bring the plus size community into one space to chat curvy, shop curvy and embrace curvy.”

Cindy Keizman, chief merchandising and operations officer at Fresh Produce said in a press release: “We have always been a brand that embraces women from all walks of life and we’re sincerely looking forward to continuing to do so with our sponsorship of theCURVYcon. The show has set the gold standard for supporting body positivity and inclusivity in the world of fashion, and we’re just so excited to be a part of it.”

Coach Brings Back Nostalgia

This year at FWNY, Coach will open a pop-up called “The Coach Originals” inside its Madison Avenue boutique. The pop-up concept revolves around the brand’s heritage with a bag-focused collection that dives into the designer house’s archive. 

Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers said about the initiative: “It felt natural to choose the most iconic styles from the sixties and seventies, like ‘The Duffle,’ ‘The Courier’ and ‘The Dinky.’ But we also sourced some rare Coach pieces, like ‘The Swinger Frame Bag.'” 

Other notable pop ups include Zadig & Voltaire NBA collection; Toni Garrn’s “Supermodel Flea Market,” a Glenlivet “drop shop” featuring Prabal Gurung and Alexis Bittar’s VW golden pickup parked at the William Vale.

Unexpected Brand Partnerships Touch Down For NFL’s 100th Season

The National Football League’s centennial season just touched down and with it a bevy of activations from brands new and returning are rolling out. This year, 32 sponsors and licensees are launching experiential activations and social initiatives including Pizza Hut, Oakley, Roc Nation and Bud Light. Ahead we’re spotlighting the largest brand partnerships of the football season so far.

Roc Nation

A newcomer to the NFL brand partner roster is Roc Nation, the Live Nation-owned music label that rapper Jay Z is signed to. The NFL announced a long-term partnership with Roc Nation before the start of the season, naming it the league’s official “live music entertainment strategists.” Roc Nation will consult on artist selections for NFL tentpole performances, including the Super Bowl, and help create and distribute music across music streaming services for a variety of initiatives including a potential live visual album.

Roc Nation is also helping the NFL launch a new social enterprise, its Inspire Change apparel line, available later this year. The new phase of the initiative will help fund programs of NFL platform “Inspire Change,” which was created to help players and owners support various education, police-community relations and criminal justice reform initiatives. 

Additionally, the partnership will also produce “Songs of the Season,” a season-long initiative that showcases musicians and their work via NFL promotions and digital streaming platforms worldwide.

Pizza Hut

Back for its second year of NFL sponsorship and the official pizza sponsor replacement for Papa John’s, Pizza Hut has created an interactive collect-and-win game called “Hut Hut Win” that runs all year and gives fans the chance to win over 10 million instant prizes including merchandise, trips to the Super Bowl, Draft Weekend tickets and more. To enter, fans must spend five dollars at Pizza Hut then head to the site to register for the game. The more virtual game pieces fans earn—a total of 32, the number of NFL teams—the higher their chances are for scoring grand prizes. Pizza Hut is engaging consumers by asking them to vote via the brand’s Twitter poll on one of three NFL-related prizes, which will be up for grabs in the Hut Hut Win sweepstakes.

“The first year of the partnership helped us increase awareness and reach more fans across the country, which was a big priority for us. This season, we’re making our partnership with the NFL work harder for the everyday fan, bringing them closer to the game as possible. We’re looking forward to continuing the momentum we started last year by bringing this partnership to life and delivering unforgettable, unexpected fan experiences all season long,” Marianne Radley, chief brand officer, Pizza Hut, told AList.

Additional immersive prizes include making pizzas with Pizza Hut NFL player partners such as making pizzas with Juju Smith-Schuster at Pizza Hut global headquarters, unlocking an escape room with Tyler Lockett and having a ping pong pizza party with Pizza Hut’s newest brand ambassador, Aaron Donald.

Pizza Hut will also highlight its player partners in four new television spots airing this season.


The most unexpected activation of the football season has to be Oakley’s four-year partnership as the NFL’s official on-field partner and licensee. Oakley will provide all 32 teams with its shields and eyewear, and for the first time in history, players will have the option of wearing Prizm Clear shields, which were engineered to provide more color, contrast and clarity for detail recognition on the field. The product is highlighted in a 60-second video spot Oakley created from the point of view of players during a football game. Oakley has produced football shields for helmet for more than 20 years.

To celebrate the partnership, Oakley hosted an event at Times Square where the center’s giant billboards went pitchblack before displaying a video spot showing New York Giants players followed by the announcement that Oakley is now a partner of the Giants.

Fans can also rep their favorite teams with the new customizable NFL eyewear collection from Oakley, available for all teams in two men’s styles and seven teams in one women’s style.

“There is obviously a tech and player safety component to the deal which makes for great storytelling, and Oakley has made investments in athletes and teams before as that is their sweet spot. What the ROI on the consumer side will be is in the future; they inserted themselves into a narrative on player health and innovation which, in addition to their logo, will drive great awareness,” sports and entertainment marketing consultant Joe Favorito told AList.

Bud Light

Bud Light is teaming up with the Cleveland Browns football team to open a pop-up store in Cleveland called “B.L. & Brown’s Appliance Superstore” that sells Bud Light Victory Fridges. The fridges created a local pandemonium last year when Bud Light installed them in bars around Cleveland. Now the company is selling a limited number of various-sized fridges, ranging from $200-$600, on September 3 and 4 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

WWE pro wrestler and Browns fan, The Miz will star as the pitchman in an infomercial about the appliance pop-up that began airing on Cleveland television August 30.


Longtime partner of the New England Patriots, Dunkin’ is giving DD Perks Members added incentives for using a Dunkin’ card or mobile ordering. On the home opener night, September 8, members will receive six times the points, or 30 points per dollar spent—as opposed to five—on any hot or iced coffee. Through the 2019 season, DD Perks Members will also earn twice on any size hot or iced coffee when paying via Dunkin’ card or mobile app ordering. The promotion will be valid at participating Dunkin’ locations in the Northeast. 

Anheuser-Busch InBev

The NFL recently adopted new guidelines on alcohol sponsorships that allow beer brands who partner with teams to use images of players to advertise their products. That includes NFL beer sponsor Bud Light and also extends to brands who have existing team relationships or wish to establish one. The updated policy could be one reason why craft breweries owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev have created branded beers with teams this season such as the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos and others. Still, brands are barred from using the likeness of active players for these beers.


To launch its 17th consecutive sponsorship of the NFL, Pepsi launched a campaign called “Always Be Celebrating.” Activations include a national television ad that features dynamic animation elements and touchdown celebrations, and the introduction of the “Pepsi Cause for Celebration” program. For every touchdown, Pepsi will donate funds equivalent to 100 meals to the team’s local United Way Worldwide.

Jersey Mike’s Subs

Now through November, Jersey Mike’s is going on a 14-week college tailgate tour across the country with a branded trailer placed in high traffic locations on college campuses. Fans can enjoy a free sub sample when they download and show the updated Jersey Mike’s app or sign up for the newly launched MyMike’s rewards program. The pop-up tailgate party will feature an outdoor lounge area where guests can play lawn games, enter giveaways and use the custom Snapchat geofilter.  At each event, tailgaters can enter to win four tickets to a football game scheduled for 2020 including airfare for the winner and up to three guests.

“Because of the unique 18 game structure of the NFL, brands that invest are usually about big spend, big engagement. It’s not a place on a national level for small budgets with the expectation of a big ROI. It is much more structured in terms of assets and access than the other big five leagues in North America, but if you can find the niche, and the narrative that makes sense to cut through the clutter, the voraciousness of the fan base can be a big win,” Favorito added.

A Marketer’s Guide To Esports Competitions

Originally published at AW360 by Angel Mendoza.

Competition is a prominent element in both the worlds of marketing and esports. For an esports player as well as for a brand, the ability to find and pursue opportunities is what determines success.

In marketing, the biggest opportunities often involve major events, and in esports marketing specifically, these are tournaments or leagues–major competitions where esports players test their mettle against some of the best players in the world.

This is where esports players are tested. Marketers, on the other hand, are tested in formulating business strategies based on careful research.

Esports leagues and competitions appeal to a wide variety of gamers, which means a vast demographic marketers can pull from. This three-part article will look at the largest and most relevant competitive opportunities in esports and how to choose which leagues to sponsor.

What to Consider Before Partnering

Choosing a competitive event to sponsor is a deliberate process. Among other factors, a company should consider the size, popularity and age of the event; how the event is broadcasted or organized; the audience demographics; how accessible the event is to casual viewers; and how well the event aligns with the brand’s image and goals.

Respectively, these considerations can be simplified to infrastructureformatsaudienceaccessibility and brand fit.


Being such a new industry, esports often lacks infrastructure – from reliable, lasting audiences, to resources to support their growth. For a competitive event to succeed, not only does the game it’s built around need to attract a crowd, that game needs to keep growing its audience.

An event won’t succeed if the game it’s built around loses its audience (or has a small audience to begin with). The Heroes of the Storm and H1Z1 pro leagues both fell through in 2018, with Heroes unable to attract a substantial audience and H1Z1unable to pay its players.

Beyond that, the Internet has created a globally connected esports community, but that often results in statistics that are displaced from regional or even national data. A game might be enormously popular in South Korea or China, but for a brand who can only target the US, that means very little.

That’s why it’s important to consider audience trends and regional data. It’s crucial for brands to consider games and competitions that have staying power, and audiences within their reach.

Brands should also keep in mind how competitions are promoting themselves to drive viewership.


Brands should also consider how viewers will watch a competitive event, or how the event is formatted. To make sound advertising decisions, it’s important to be aware of how an event is structured. In that way, a brand can consider every advertising opportunity.

The majority of esports competitions are hosted online but move to physical venues during the playoffs and finals. A brand might want to consider audiences who will watch online, as well as audiences who will buy tickets to see the event live. Common sponsorship assets include in-broadcast overlays, branded content segments (during live competitions), in-venue advertising, social content with integrated league assets, game equipment and apparel.

The goal is creating experiences for audiences that aren’t disruptive and increase brand awareness in positive and relatable ways.


Along similar lines, a brand should consider how an event is streamed to audiences. Events that stream exclusively through certain platforms are more likely to miss essential viewership.

When ESL terminated its exclusive broadcast deal with Facebook, and FACEIT announced it would stop broadcasting exclusively through Youtube, these organizers were motivated by audience growth. They saw the importance of reaching audiences across as many platforms as possible.

Additionally, when considering audience metrics, it’s important for brands to look at data that can be compared tangibly to digital and television. While there is definite potential in the esports industry, it’s still relatively new, and a lot of information might be exaggerated or inflated. Metrics such as “total viewers” and “max concurrent viewers–”metrics which have been widely considered in the past–might seem comprehensive enough, but they often fail to account for audience engagement and brand exposure.

Some competitive events have started partnering with Nielsen, to give brands more comprehensive data. This should allow brands to make more informed sponsorship decisions.


Many esports titles, such as League of Legends or Starcraft, don’t translate to real world sports or activities. They have their own internal mechanics that are often difficult for average viewers to understand. This means that for the uninitiated, these games may be too much trouble to follow.

This isn’t necessarily a concern right now, as esports audiences are mostly comprised of dedicated fans, who have no trouble following what’s happening on-screen. In the future though, brands and competitions may want to expand their reach.

Harder-to-understand esports could alienate future viewers. Brands interested in a bigger picture might consider less abstract games, where the objectives and tactics are easily understood by even unfamiliar viewers.

Barring that, brands should research whether competitions or esports leagues plan to consider more casual viewers. In 2018, Riot games and ELEAGUE broadcast a 1-hour-intro to League of Legends on TBS, discussing some of the mechanics and history of the game. ELEAGUE offered a similar program for Counter Strike: Global Offensive. These “101” segments may be a viable way for games and competitions to grow their audience.

Brand Fit

In the long-term, brand image is often much more meaningful than brand exposure. To gain and keep an audience, a brand should always consider what it’s saying to consumers and how it’s saying it, and esports marketing is no exception.

Which game or competition a brand associates with can say a lot to consumers, whether positively or negatively. Awareness of the audience and history, both of game franchises and competitive events, is essential. Many brands will also want to consider gameplay that is brand safe–as removed from controversy as possible.

That’s not to neglect the importance of brand strategy. A competitive event might tie in well with a brand’s image, but if audiences have to go out of their way to support the brand, the sponsorship is much less effective. Non-endemic brands should consider how to seamlessly (but not disruptively) integrate themselves into the event, to make consumer response as efficient as possible.

A strong brand strategy connects with event audiences both online and offline.

With all these elements in mind, here are some brief overviews of some of the most established esports leagues and what makes them unique.

Established Leagues and Tournaments

1. League of Legends Championship Series (LCS)

Through its championship events, League of Legends has become a premiere name in esports, and the LCS (US specific tournament) is the highest tier competitive League of Legends has to offer.

The LCS is organized by Riot Games, the company responsible for League, and boasts ten franchise teams that compete in the US. The LCS annual season is split between spring and summer, culminating in the World Championship, which starts in October.

What makes it unique: While League of Legends is certainly not the most popular competitive esport in the US or North America, it has attained globally iconic status. Riot operates fourteen regional leagues globally, of which there are more than 100 teams.

Riot’s recent partnership with Nielsen, to deliver more comprehensive numbers to marketers, makes the LCS an even more enticing prospect.

2. Overwatch League

The Overwatch League is Blizzard’s ambitious attempt to bring esports to the mainstream. Modeling itself off of real-world sports leagues like the NFL and the NBA, OWL created franchise teams tied to major cities around the world.

Blizzard’s goal is to make global inroads, creating a global network of stadiums. They would have OWL travel the world between home and away locations, further mirroring

What makes it unique: Aside from the unique structure of OWL among esports, which should be realized in 2020, Activision Blizzard is another Nielsen partner.

Overwatch is also quite popular in the US.

3. DOTA Pro Circuit

DOTA 2 has a lot in common with League of Legends. Both owe their existence to a Warcraft III mod, Defense of the Ancients; both have adopted a free-to-play model; and both have become iconic esports internationally.

The DOTA Pro Circuit includes five Major tournaments and five Minor tournaments, concluding in a final annual tournament called The International. The difference between a Major and a Minor tournament is that a Major is significantly more likely to qualify a player for the International, while also offering a larger prize pool.

What makes it unique: The International’s prize pool is crowdfunded, pulled partly from the sale of battle passes in DOTA 2. Battle passes give players access to virtual goods, which provide cosmetic rewards.

Because of this, the 2019 International will have the largest prize pool of any esports event ever, at $30 million.

4. CS:GO Major Circuit

A first-person shooter placing players in the roles of either counter-terrorists or terrorists, Counter Strike: Global Offensive is the latest installment in the popular Counter-Strike franchise. Although played worldwide, CS:GO is arguably most popular in the US. In the US, CS:GO outranks all other esports for sheer number of teams.

Also organized by Valve, the CS:GO championships are similarly formatted into a circuit of Major and Minor tournaments. However, CS:GO does not have its own version of the International. Tournaments are held internationally.

What makes it unique: CS:GO is one of the more “American” esports, so if brands want to orient themselves around an American identity, sponsoring the CS:GO major circuit is something to consider. However, brand safety is a concern. CS:GO is graphically violent, and violence is its core focus. Brands have to be wary of this going into any conversation.

5. Hearthstone Masters

Having experienced a slight decline since its massive Twitch popularity of several years ago–no longer the trend it used to be –Hearthstone is a digital card game set in the Warcraft universe. Hearthstone nevertheless maintains a strong audience and competitive scene.

This year, Blizzard announced the Hearthstone Masters, its attempt to make the Hearthstone esports scene more “sustainable, entertaining, and accessible” for players. The new system is divided into Masters Qualifiers, a Masters Tour and the Grandmasters. The Masters Tour consists of select marquee live events and moves players around the world, starting in Las Vegas, moving to Seoul, and then concluding in Bucharest.

What makes it unique: Like OWL, the Hearthstone Masters is organized by Blizzard, a company making strong strides in the esports industry, aiming to legitimize it alongside other sports.

As far as brand safe esports, Hearthstone and other online card games are probably among the best, given that controversy is really not present in the gameplay itself.

Looking Ahead

With a successful brand strategy, sponsoring an established league, like those listed above, offers brands a large audience, more stability, and a strong community. However, a smaller brands might have difficulty reaching budget minimums with organizers for major competitive events to make a meaningful impact throughout the year.

A good brand strategy involves careful research, specifically regarding accurate and precise metrics with historical precedent and parallels. Considering the future of the esports industry, as well as what fits a brand’s image and product positioning, is vital to long-term success. Due to the novelty of the industry, a lot of figures may be exaggerated, and infrastructure is still developing.

The audiences for esports and competitions are vast, and within each community lies different types of untapped potential. Really connecting with audiences may be challenging, and it’s important to be genuine – to find honest connections between your brand and the audience.

This concludes our look into major esports competitions around the world. We’ve looked into how brands can form careful strategies around esports and make quality long-term decisions, both for themselves and for the health of the esports industry.

Part two will focus on competitions that, while popular, are still developing. Part three will look at newer and other notable esports competitions.

(This article originally appeared on Simplepixel)

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf And Warner Bros. Open Central Perk In Los Angeles

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, in partnership with Warner Bros. celebrates the 25th anniversary of Friends by creating an interactive pop-up experience at two Coffee Bean locations in Los Angeles. With the infamous orange couch, the campaign lets the fans quench their thirst and satisfy their Instagram needs, surrounded by the iconic Central Perk decor.

The pop-ups are taking place in two touristy Los Angeles destinations: West Hollywood and Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, welcoming the guests from 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily until August 23. 

At the coffee houses, the pop-up goers are able to sip on the themed seasonal “The Rachel Matcha Latte,” “The Joey Mango Cold Brew Tea,” “The Chandler Caramel Coconut Latte,” “The Ross Classic Flat White,” “The Monica Midnight Mocha Cold Brew” and, the quirkiest of all, “ The Phoebe Cookies & Cream Ice Blended” drink. 

The drinks are also “dressed” in limited-edition, collectible coffee sleeves that feature one of eight Friends quotes. To test their knowledge in the catch phrases from the show, the fans can even take “Who Said It?” quiz

Besides the themed seasonal beverages, Coffee Bean also offers their customers to pick up Central Perk themed coffees and tea for brewing at home. 

“Members of our team are fans of the show Friends, from casual late-night viewers to full-blown fanatics, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series,” said Darrin Kellaris, vice president of marketing at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in a press release

Amazon Unites California Businesses On ‘Maisel Day’ To Offer 1959 Prices

Amazon teamed up with local businesses in Santa Monica, California to offer 1959 prices from $40 hotel rooms to gas for 30¢ a gallon. The August 15 activation created awareness for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel ahead of the 71st Emmy Awards, for which the show received 20 nominations.

Nostalgia marketing is in full swing across a myriad of brands, but instead of reminding millennials of the 90s, Amazon went back much further to 1959—the setting of its award-winning show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Maisel Day” invited consumers to “experience 1959 for one marvelous day” at 28 participating businesses, each offering steeply discounted products or services based on the prices of the era. Participating fans enjoyed 51¢ movie tickets, $2 makeovers, Reuben sandwiches for 59¢ and more, while Chevron’s gas for 30¢ a gallon literally brought traffic to a halt. 

The activation inspired social media posts of users’ discounted finds, women donning their 1950s best to participate and overall praise for the show. Others lamented that Maisel Day prices weren’t being offered nationwide.

It’s no coincidence that Aug 15 also happened to kick off the final round of Emmy voting. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel won the Emmy in 2018 for Outstanding Comedy Series, an honor for which it has been nominated again.

Amazon used a similar marketing strategy, although on a smaller scale, to promote the show’s season two premiere in December. The company recreated New York’s historic Carnegie Deli in a pop-up activation to offer discounted sandwiches. The famous deli closed in 2016 but for one day, guests in Lower Manhattan could imagine what it was like to dine there in 1958, as resurrected by the Carnegie Deli owners and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel production team. 

All proceeds from the Carnegie Deli activation were matched by Amazon and donated to The Lower Eastside Girls Club (LESGC). The inclusion of a deli in both promotions corresponds with moments in the show in which characters dine and write jokes in the iconic Stage Deli, which closed in 2012.

Amazon frequently uses experiential marketing to promote its original content. For the release of Good Omens, Amazon erected Instagram-worthy sets around SXSW and filled the streets with actors dressed as various characters in the apocalyptic tale including nuns, angels and demons.

Honda Partners With Riot Games, Becomes First North American Automaker To Sponsor Esports Team And League

Honda is expanding its presence in esports and strengthening its bond with the young consumer force by becoming the exclusive automotive sponsor of the Riot Games League of Legends Championship Series (LCS). The initiative will make Honda the first North American automaker to be a sponsor of both a preeminent esports league (LCS) and Team Liquid, a team within the league. 

The car brand is strengthening its existing partnership with gaming leader and three-time LCS champion Team Liquid, and developing stronger ties to the streaming platform Twitch. According to the press release issued by the company, the effort will include sponsorship of the League MVP, the LCS Scouting Grounds (the premiere tournament for up and coming League of Legends players), access to advertising inventory live on LCS game days, as well as custom content highlighting the imagination and determination of the league’s top athletes.

To appeal to the young audience, four 15-second video spots were created for the initiative. The clips encourage viewers to “find their drive” and stay determined, and include feature spots with members of Team Liquid. They will run on Twitch, YouTube, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The viewers see Doublelift, Hungrybox, Vivid, and CEO Steve Arhancet in custom-wrapped 2019 Honda Civics. 

Considering that Riot Games has been a dominant player in North American and global esports scene since its launch of League of Legends in 2009, the initiative promises to be especially successful. Over the last four years, League of Legends was the top esport in terms of viewership in North America, seeing 1.1 million average daily unique viewers and 26 million total hours watched during the LCS 2018 full season. With this move, Honda wants to prove its dedication to building an emotional bond with Gen-Z and millennial, and demonstrate that the Honda Civic is more than just an affordable car. 

Phil Hruska, manager of Media Strategy at American Honda said, “Through this partnership with the LCS, Honda will continue to forge a strong connection with the next generation of car buyers who happen to be fans of the incredible athletes of Team Liquid and the League of Legends Championship Series in North America. We understand the passion of esports fans and how strongly they support the gaming community, and Honda is fully vested in creating one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experiences for gamers as we launch the next phase of Honda’s endeavor in esports and gaming.” 

The partnership will launch around the Summer Split Playoffs, which will begin in Los Angeles on August 10, and the Finals, taking place in Detroit, Michigan on August 24-25.  

Brands Take A Bite Out Of Shark Week With A Tide Of Activations

Shark Week is back for its 31st year and is riding the wave of partner tie-ins to celebrate the longest-running cable TV programming event in history. Last year, Shark Week reached 34.9 million total viewers on Total Day and 3.5 million streams across all Discovery Go digital platforms. 

This year, Discovery is bringing back the experience to viewers through digital and social media platforms with new episodes on Snapchat, exclusive original programming through Discovery’s streaming Go app and over 100 new shark GIFs and stickers via Giphy.

Thanks to Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps last year, the company is also leveraging sister networks Food Network, HGTV and ID by turning their promos into Shark Week spots.

In addition to returning partners like Southwest, Build-A-Bear and Vineyard Vines, a plethora of new brands have launched Shark Week-inspired merchandise and campaigns. Here are the Shark Week partnerships that are making the biggest splash.


Hyundai, the only auto sponsor of this year’s Shark Week, hopes to boost brand metrics by partnering with Discovery on the beloved event. The partnership includes programming of the brand’s latest “Better Drives Us” campaign video spot which blends footage of sharks swimming and footage of a Hyundai SUV. The automaker will also have the ability to run targeted video on demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) ads in a series—based on the Discovery channel’s first scripted feature-length film called Capsized: Blood in the Water—that will live on the Go app.


In its sixth consecutive partnership with Shark Week, the airline launched an augmented reality (AR) filter that allows fans to “swim with sharks” via mobile devices and Southwest’s site. Additionally, a never-before-seen episode of the series is available for viewing inflight on all Southwest flights.

LandShark Lager

Beer company LandShark Lager is adopting 100 sharks and giving fans a chance to swim with one of them at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood, Florida. Six winners will have the chance to win the grand prize, an all-inclusive trip for a two-night stay and a shark dive. To enter, fans 21 and over must text SHARK to 78896 and can do so through August 24.

LandShark Lager also created Shark Week-inspired video spots poking fun at Corona with the messaging, “This week is our week.”


The sneaker brand is new to the lineup of those getting in on Shark Week action. Launching in stores and online in July, the partnership includes a Vans line of kid and adult footwear, t-shirts and accessories featuring graphic shark overlays. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Oceana, an organization dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans.

Red Lobster

To give its seafood lovers something new, Red Lobster created a pairing menu for Shark Week to make “hosting a Shark Week party easier and more fun than ever.” The restaurant is suggesting which dishes to order based on the shows airing throughout the week.


Kellogg’s teamed up with the creator of viral children’s song Baby Shark, Pinkfong, to launch a Baby Shark breakfast cereal. Starting August 17, the cereal will be available at Sam’s Club, and in late September at Walmart.


Returning partner Build-A-Bear created a new collection of furry shark stuffed animals and clothing, available in all stores and online. The brand also released a behind-the-scenes video showing rough sketches that formed the final toys.

Vineyard Vines

The brand is back with a selection of almost 50 styles of apparel, swimwear and beach accessories for kids, men and women.

‘Stranger Things Three’ Brand Activations, Like Totally, Bank On ’80s Nostalgia

Stranger Things season three, released on July 4th, broke the Netflix record for most-viewed series in the first four days (40.7 million household accounts watched the new season since its global launch). The streaming giant is also hopeful that fans do more than just sit back and passively watch.

It’s estimated consumers spend $122 billion a year on entertainment-linked merchandise, and Netflix and partner brands want to ride the profitable wave of brightly-colored, questionably-styled-hair, nostalgic fun. 

In fact, Netflix shook on deals with over 75 brands, putting the participating companies, fans and itself in a win-win-win situation, as the streaming service hopes to drive more subscriptions and greater fan excitement through the partnerships. 

The focus of the brand activations is mostly the trendy, bitchin ’80s nostalgia, so let’s look at the most honorable mentions. 

Eggo Waffles 

Eggo waffles producer Kellogg’s has had an ongoing partnership with Netflix and this time around, offered the fans a major ‘80s throwback with their retro ads, promoting the show’s character, Eleven’s, favorite food, which is certainly also a favorite treat from many viewers’ childhood. Maybe we’ll all start bickering with our siblings again to “leggo my Eggo.”

Hasbro Gaming

Hasbro Gaming invited the show fans to put their cell phones down and gather around a table to play retro-inspired games “Dungeons & Dragons” (which the characters play in the first episode of the sci-fi series) and “Trivial Pursuit Back to The 80’s Edition.” The latter incorporates Stranger Things-themed questions in addition to topics like pop culture, music, technology, trends and more.


Schwinn released another limited edition Stranger Things bike, inspired by the “iron horse” of Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin). The retro-bike was sold out almost immediately, we assume to escape the Upside Down. 


Those who missed out on the outrageous footwear designs of the 80’s have the chance to go back in time. “Nike x Stranger Things Air Tailwind 79 OG” collection of  flashy sneakers looks like it’s been pulled from the ’80s time capsule. The sports brand and Netflix collaborated on a special Stranger Things Three sneaker edition so the fans can be “stranger” head to toe.

Funko Pops

The vinyl figurines maker offers to purchase the entire Stranger Things crew, including Jim Hopper dressed to impress for a date, Lucas wearing casual attire, Max ready to go to the mall, Dustin wearing camp clothes, Will the Wise dressed for a Dungeons & Dragons session, Erica looking ready for action, Steve wearing an adorable Ahoy hat and carrying an ice cream cone, Eleven dressed for the mall and Eleven ready for battle. In addition, avid fans can pick up Stranger Things-branded  notebooks, socks, lunch boxes and mugs. 


To celebrate the new season of the show, Lego released a lego set and a retro-poster, which imitates one of the original Stranger Things season one posters, showing Mike, Dustin and Lucas finding Will’s (all drawn as Lego characters, of course). 


Levi’s Fall/Winter 2019 capsule collection pieces are replete with graphics from the Netflix series, including “One summer can change everything” (a central theme for season three) and “Camp Know Where.” Completely casual but so “psych.”

Major League Baseball 

MLB is no stranger to Stranger Things, and during Major Leagues, the show made 13 appearances at ballparks across the country, offering Stranger Things MLB gear and merchandise, as well as an immersive experience of visiting the Upside Down–the extra-dimensional spot where nothing is as it seems. 

Baskin Robbins 

Baskin-Robbins turned its ice-cream shop in Burbank, California into “Scoops Ahoy,” exactly mimicking the shop from Netflix show’s third season. The fans can grab a scoop or two at the store from  July 2 to July 14.


Target’s “You ready to party like it’s 1985?” campaign offers to “go retro with [its] totally rad collections” of “Splashtown, USA,” “Grillin’ & Chillin,'”, “Style to the Max” and “Cool at School” merch. And by the way, Target is another location where “Scoops, Ahoy” ice-cream is available for purchase.


H&M launched a global capsule collection with Stranger Things, complete with retro logo T-shirts and swimwear. What can we say, “one summer can change everything.”


Instant before Instagram filmmaker, Polaroid was certainly in luck with the show, as it presented a perfect opportunity for the brand to play on the1980s nostalgia and re-introduce its retro products and a limited-edition instant camera inspired by Stranger Things, with unique filters and frames that feel totally “stranger.”


Shutterstock also didn’t miss out on a chance to remind us of its library of “strange stock,” as a part of the brand’s “It’s Shutterstock” campaign. The video was designed as a preview for Stranger Things season three, and, of course, made 100 percent of Shutterstock assets. See for yourself. 


Coca-Cola made a bold move with bringing back a once failed new Coke recipe and is on a mission to sell 500,000 limited-edition cans of “New Coke,” as well as a New Coke Throwback Collection of limited-edition apparel.

Burger King

Actually, nothing strange about this one. The Upside Down Whopper is well, what it sounds like it is. It’s  the original Whopper, stuffed with the same ingredients, served upside down in exclusive packaging.


And finally, one of the latest partnerships between Netflix and Microsoft gave birth to Windows 1.0-inspired app that lets users experience the graphical user interface they first publicly released in November 1985. 

Microsoft Reimagines 1985 Tech With Stranger Things-Inspired PC App

Microsoft delivers a 1985 throwback experience for Stranger Things fans across the country. Created with Netflix, the tech company launched a Windows 1.0-inspired app that lets users experience the graphical user interface they first publicly released in November 1985. Though this version is a much rosier interpretation of the past PC, without the dreaded blue screen of death so common in the ’80s.

The free special edition personal computer (PC) app comes after the show’s third season premiered earlier this month. Inspired by the plot’s “Upside Down,” an alternate dimension that led to the Hawkins town invasion, the app is available on the Windows Store and includes puzzles and retro games that evoke ‘80s nostalgia. 

In addition to the app, Windows is giving users the chance to totally transform their desktops with PC wallpapers that feature themes of the show’s cast and graphics. 

Microsoft is rounding out the Stranger Things partnership with another experiential element—workshop pop-ups at Microsoft Stores called “Camp Know Where.” Here, fans can learn to make a Stranger Things mini-movies featuring mixed reality and 3D with Microsoft technology, or code a game with MakeCode Arcade. Users can also enter to win an Xbox One X Console when they play new “Stranger Things 3: The Game” at local Microsoft stores. 

The partnership with Microsoft highlights Netflix’s vast marketing strategy to promote Stranger Things 3 and is one of many activations that incorporates the show’s throwback theme. Noteworthy tie-ins include Burger King and Coca-Cola’s creation of the Upside Down WHOPPER and Baskin-Robbins’ transformation of its Burbank store into the show’s ice cream shop, Scoops Ahoy. The Chicago Cubs launched a Snapchat augmented-reality (AR) filter that turns Wrigley Stadium into the Upside Down. Nike even got in on ‘80s fever, launching a collection of apparel that pays homage to the show.