General Mills is the first presenting sponsor of Yahoo ESports Live, an hour-long pair of weekly live shows. Late Night League focuses on Riot Games’ League of Legends landscape, and Tilted covers the entire world of competitive gaming. With custom branded segments and video advertising during live programming, the new campaign for Reese’s Puffs Cereal will also include Yahoo’s livestream coverage of ESL One New York 2016 on Saturday and Sunday.
Scott Baldwin, director of marketing for cereal at General Mills, told [a]listdaily that the company has been looking at eSports over the past year and settled on this partnership with Yahoo because of its audience and reach.
“Reese’s Puffs is a favorite of millennials and we’re always looking for new ways to engage with this audience,” Baldwin said. “ESports is such a broad space and it’s where our consumers are, so we saw this as a great opportunity to get involved.”
Baldwin said General Mills is targeting millennials, men and women alike, with this cereal.
“It’s not just 18-to-20 year olds in dorms, but a much broader demographic,” Baldwin said. “And we’ve seen that with Yahoo ESports. It’s a range of age and a nice mix of men and women, some of going upward of 30-plus. But 18-to-30 is the sweet spot.”
The fact that eSports lives online and is a completely digital audience fits right in with the overall marketing strategy for the cereal.
“What we do for Reese’s is all oriented toward this target demographic, so we’re not on traditional TV airing spots now,” Baldwin said. “Our work is already customized to them. It’s fun, and funny. It has that vibe. It’s out of the norm. It’s not about the family eating breakfast at the kitchen table.”
The tagline for Reece’s Puffs campaign is “you either love them or you’re wrong.” General Mills has integrated its humorous spots into the online content. So far, the company hasn’t created commercials specifically about eSports.
“We didn’t want to artificially make Reese’s Puffs content because we don’t want to pander to the audience,” Baldwin said. “We have fun content to share.”
Reese’s Puffs is also integrated into Yahoo’s Twitch and Facebook Live channels. Baldwin said the company has a robust social engagement across all platforms that millennials interact with hoping that they’ll share Reese’s Puffs content that they find funny or interesting.
“It’s early, but we’re pleased with how it looks,” Baldwin said of the one-year sponsorship deal General Mills signed with Yahoo.
“Are we reaching audience we’re after? Yes,” Baldwin said. “We’re watching engagement and how people are reacting to content on social media. We’ve learned from all of our brands that are working with gamers that you can’t just put something out there. Your content needs to be different and sharable and something that really draws them in. We don’t want to talk at them, but talk to them and make it engaging and fun to watch.”
This isn’t General Mills’ first foray into gaming. Baldwin said Cinnamon Toast Crunch has been marketing to late-night gamers for several years. And Totino’s Pizza Rolls partnered with Twitch for a Super Bowl bucking couch activation featuring influential streamers. Last October, Totino’s had an on-pack partnership with Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. This October the brand has an on-pack partnership with Microsoft’s Gears of War 4, which is being released October 11.
Devin Kunysz, marketing manager of Reese’s Puffs at General Mills, told [a]listdaily the brand has also targeted gamers at events like the recent PAX West in Seattle.
“We were a Twitch livestream sponsor at their broadcast booth handing out Reese’s Puffs at a table for anyone to enjoy, including the broadcasters,” Kunysz said. “We had a large bowl of cereal in the Reese’s Puffs Pit that attendees could slide down and find a prize. We had a variety of prizes, including Xbox One game consoles.”
Baldwin said the Reese’s Puffs Facebook page gained several thousand followers from that PAX West activation.
“We’re starting this in little bits and seeing how it goes,” Baldwin said. “It’s a pretty dynamic space, so we’re watching and seeing how people respond.”