Red Bull teams up with pro player Ninja for experiential competition


Dive brief:

  • Red Bull has teamed up with professional player and Twitch star Tyler “Ninja” Blevins on a new campaign that includes limited edition cans and a fan contest, according to a press release shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Consumers can visit and upload a photo or video showing how they play. Entries will be judged on creativity, authenticity and aesthetics, and a winner and their partner will be flown to a Red Bull gaming event to have a gaming session with Ninja. The finalists will win premium Ninja products and game equipment.
  • The energy drink brand will also launch limited edition Ninja cans starting April 1. Red Bull surprised Ninja by delivering the can by drone during a photoshoot and posted a video showing his reaction.

Dive overview:

Teaming up with Ninja, one of the most popular players around, could help Red Bull build brand awareness and boost sales among gamers, who often sip energy drinks to get through long gaming sessions. The contest giving fans the chance to meet Ninja could help the energy drink brand to increase traffic and engagement on their website, as fans could take the opportunity to share their playstyle. Experiential elements like These tend to resonate with younger consumers, an important segment of the game, as the demographic values ​​opportunities to engage with brands in an authentic way.

As a top influencer, Ninja has worked with other brands and signed influencer management agreements. Marketers seek partnerships with him and others as they have millions of followers on Amazon’s Twitch and mostly hard-to-reach consumer social media. Doritos from Frito-Lay has teamed up with Twitch to host a gaming event, called the Doritos Bowl, with top streamers including Ninja, who also provided play-by-play commentary in a joint broadcast of the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football”.

Gen Z men spend more time playing non-traditional sports, such as games and esports, than traditional sports, according to sports media brand Whistle. In addition, 69% welcome brands in non-traditional sports and 57% think it is important for companies to sponsor, advertise and support the sports they watch. With Red Bull, other brands are looking for partnerships with players to reach these consumers. Gillette from Procter & Gamble recently announced a partnership with Twitch on the Gillette Gaming Alliance, a team of Twitch gamers. The campaign offered Twitch Bits for purchases of Gillette products.

Red Bull’s partnership with Ninja follows another recent campaign with Kia and professional racing driver Collete Davis. The partnership includes a three-part YouTube series hosted by Davis and featuring Red Bull Driftbrothers Joe and Elias Hountondji.


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