Snickers is the latest marketer looking to reach young, male audiences through professional video-gaming.
The chocolate maker has signed on to sponsor season two of Turner and WME-IMG's ELeague series. As part of the deal, Snickers will sponsor the ELeague's pre-game show airing on TBS, and in post-game will air "You're Not You When You Are Hungry" moments, which are essentially bloopers and gaffes that occur during game play.
TBS airs limited commercial breaks during ELeague, avoiding interrupting game play with ads. So while the young, male audience (one that is especially difficult to reach on TV) that is the core of e-sports' fan base typically shun brand marketing, Seth Ladetsky, senior VP-ad sales at Turner, said when done correctly, the community is embracing and cheering for the sponsors. TBS airs about eight minutes of commercials an hour in ELeague.
Mr. Ladetsky added that demand for ad time in ELeague has been strong, and that they are effectively sold out of commercial inventory for the season.
Snickers will run ads during the breaks alongside ELeague's "ad tracker," a scrolling ticker highlighting stats and other information about teams and players.
Snickers said the ELeague fits with its brand objectives.
"The brand craves getting closer to ELeague's dedicated millennial fan base who looks for the kind of fun that aligns to the solution that only Snickers offers when 'You're Not Yourself When You're Hungry,'" Allison Miazga-Bedrick, senior marketing director, Snickers, said in a statement.
Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Credit Karma and Domino's, which were marketing partners in the first season, have also returned.
ELeague, which returned for its second season last month, is centered on the popular first-person shooter game "Counter Strike: Global Offensive." The Group Stage of the competition started last Friday and the season will culminate with the Semifinal on Dec. 2 and Grand Final on Dec. 3.
The first season of ELeague averaged about 256,000 total viewers, with more than half of those watching in the all-important 18-to-49 demographic. The championship also received 168,500 concurrent streams on Twitch, the social platform for video gamers.