With the average age of a gamer now 35, according to the Entertainment Software Association, there are more opportunities for brands to connect with older gamers. The stigma of games being for kids has virtually evaporated in recent years, thanks to the explosion of mobile and free-to-play games. That’s all played into the marketing plans of Coors Light, which has expanded its video game footprint in 2015 through its Refresh-Men retro game.

Erin Mulligan, associate brand manager for Coors Light, explains how the beer company is connecting with Xbox and mobile gamers 21 and older through its ad-based game in this exclusive interview.

Erin Mulligan

Erin Mulligan

Why did Coors Light decide to develop a video game

In 2014 we launched Coors Light Refresh-Men, an ad-based video game that lived on the Xbox 360 platform. This 8-bit, brawler style video game garnered more than 50 million impressions, 300,000+ game starts, and more than a 12-minute average playtime. We wanted to build on the success and approach taken in 2014 by adding new characters, moves, storylines and bad guys to keep our audience engaged and excited by the Refresh-Men.

Do you have any market info on how big a crossover there is between your customers and gamers today

A significant percentage of our core consumer base also plays console video games frequently each week, so this is an effective way for us to strengthen their connection with Coors Light.

What studio did you work with to develop the game and what were the goals for this game

The goal of the game was to drive engagement with the brand, and it was a collaborative effort between the Coors Light team with various agencies and studios.

How do you see the retro gameplay connecting with the older gaming demographic

The graphical style of these “8-bit†games has seen a resurgence and become more culturally relevant in recent years. We want our game to embrace the retro qualities of this 8-bit look, from colors and font style to moves and gameplay strategy. Our audience grew up with these games, so they relate to the style.

How many levels and how deep is this game

There is an intro to the game, five levels and an outro.

Can you detail the release of this game across platforms

The original Coors Light Refresh-Men from 2014 was available only on Xbox 360. With the release of Super Refresh-Men, it is now on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and for download on Apple and Android mobile devices. Our Xbox effort will now encompass both current-gen systems, for maximum exposures to gamers.

What are the advantages of having a game living out there for people to play over other social media or marketing efforts

We felt this was a fun, unique way of bringing our brand to life and of paying homage to our brewing roots. We know that embracing the platforms consumers are on is critical for creating emotional connections with beer drinkers, and we’re proud that Coors Light has been leading the charge on this among alcohol and beverage brands.

What’s the messaging behind this game for Coors Light

Coors Light Super Refresh-Men is perfect for people 21 and older who remember and celebrate classic games, and who like to enjoy an ice-cold Coors Light while playing with friends.

What does the huge smartphone audience open up for brands today

We know our audience continues to play console-based games, but we wanted to give them a way to take the Super Refresh-Men on the go, knowing smartphones are glued to the palms of today’s consumers. This always-on-demand reality inspires us to reach our consumers in innovative and engaging ways – in this case, evolving a fan favorite with unique, new elements and on expanded channels. Smartphones also make everyone a broadcaster, which encourages us to engage our consumers with rich experience they can’t help but share instantly with their friends and social networks.

Is this game an experiment or do you see further exploration of gaming for this brand

We will continue to explore gaming as a means to engage consumers.