Gillette is the latest non-endemic brand to jump into eSports. The company has partnered with ESL to sponsor the League of Legends Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championship in Katowice, Poland from February 24-26, 2017. In addition, Gillette has added its first eSports brand ambassador, Enrique “xPeke” Cedeño, to a roster that includes traditional athletes like Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., Roger Federer and Clay Matthews.
Francesco Tortora, Gillette global brand director, told [a]listdaily that Gillette has been working with a lot of top athletes for 110 years.
“It used to be baseball, then it expanded to tennis and soccer and football,” Tortora said. “We have to remain relevant with our audience and loyal users. And a big portion of today’s audience watches eSports.”
Cedeño told [a]listdaily that it’s a dream-come-true working with a non-endemic company like Gillette in eSports.
“I watch TV and see Federer and other athlete ambassadors of Gillette and it’s huge to now be in that league,” Cedeño said. “It means so much for eSports to have an emblematic brand that has been working with athletes for over 100 years now. Gillette thinks about eSports like traditional sports, and this is good for the entire eSports ecosystem.”
Gillette will be combining its two eSports initiatives at the upcoming IEM Katowice event. Fans will be able to customize Gillette razor handles using 3D printing technology at its RZR MKR Design Studio. Additionally, the brand will provide grooming services to all League of Legend’s competitors throughout the opening weekend and will host autograph sessions and other activities with Cedeño.
The deal with Cedeño is unique because the brand is not going to sponsor Origin, the team he owns. It will be similar to his Red Bull ambassador sponsorship. “I’ll wear Gillette merchandise and be at the booth during Katowice to meet with fans and give away a custom razor that I’ve designed,” Cedeño said.
Cedeño is a former IEM Katowice Most Valuable Player (MVP). This marks the third Katowice tournament he’ll be attending. “I’ve been to many IEMs, but Katowice has always been the biggest in terms of fan interaction,” Cedeño said. “They’re passionate fans there. Every time I go there I can be in a queue for a long time because all of the fans really want to meet me.”
In addition to the RZR MKR Design Studio experience, Gillette will give fans a look inside Cedeño’s life as a pro gamer and team owner. The “Pursuit of Precision” content series will follow him as he visits the Gillette World Shaving Headquarters in Boston to discuss the precision required to be a top eSports player and the added pressures of owning a League of Legends team during the current eSports boom.
Tortora said Gillette chose to work with ESL because it’s the biggest tournament organizer around that gives the brand events that are followed everywhere.
“It’s a live event that a lot of people go to,” Tortora said. “The RZR MKR Design Studio experience is a very simple and effective way to connect a ton of people literally and physically. We’re trying to get them to experience first-hand the connection between the precision and strategy with specific techniques behind the League of Legends game and the precision and strategy that goes into the research and development of our products.”
ESports is the first digital sport, and eSports players open up a unique opportunity for brands to connect. “The reason why all the fans love eSports and follow players like me is because they can directly interact with me,” Cedeño said. “We stream often and we chat with fans and reply to questions; we’re really close to them. Fans can relate to us. They’re able to connect with us in ways that traditional sports don’t offer.”
Tortora said this announcement is just the beginning of Gillette’s eSports activation.
“We have a lot of other content coming both on the Gillette social channel side as well as the ESL, IEM and Xpeke social side in the next few months,” Tortora said.