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Who remembers the Old Spice Man? In 2010 the actor Isaiah Mustafa conquered the net with lots of charm and his good looks, and Wieden + Kennedy set a milestone with the Old Spice campaign Smell like a Man, Man in terms of content marketing and the social web.
In addition to an excellent creative idea, it was the clever networking to the target group on particularly trendy social channels (especially YouTube and Twitter) and the active involvement of users which contributed to the campaign’s success, which, in subsequent years, was often used as a best practice example for digital marketing.
Here we are, five years later, and we could be standing before a new highlight. But this time it is not YouTube and Twitter which are the channels of choice, but the live streaming platform twitch.tv, where you can watch others playing computer games. From April 16th to 18th, Old Spice ventures with Twitch under the crowd sourced gaming promotion #twitchplaysoldspice, a trip into nature. The viewers are called upon to direct a real man through a forest over three days using the Twitch chat control and can participate with him in prepared events and activities.
The inspiration for the campaign seems to have come from Spring 2014, when thousands of gamers converged to play together on a virtual Gameboy Pokemon in a live stream. The control commands were received in the game characters chat, processed in a short time and then passed on to the game – with correspondingly unpredictable consequences. A completely absurd idea, which is probably why it spread like wildfire within a few days over the net and thereby also brought every facet of Twitch to the fore: gaming, community interaction, live entertainment and a good deal of chaos.
Live-Streaming is in
Currently live streaming is arguably one of the most important trends in the net. With Meerkat and Periscope two companies struggle for dominance in mobile streaming and it was no coincidence that Amazon paid almost a billion US-Dollars in August 2014 for twitch.tv and thus outmanoeuvred competitors Google.
How seriously Google takes twitch.tv can also be seen in that a few weeks ago it became known that the YouTube live streaming service plans to strengthen its position in gaming and eSports and thus become a direct competitor of Twitch.
This development is also interesting in that in recent months Twitch has carefully made first attempts to broaden its fairly strict gaming alignment through transfers of film and music events without alienating its important core target group and damaging the essence of its brand.
The success of Twitch is attributable, alongside the transmission of popular eSports events, to a loyal fan base of many small and large content producers who broadcast their gaming sessions on a daily basis. Meanwhile streaming has become much more than just fun for bored teenagers: If streamers achieve stable numbers of regular viewers, they can participate in the Twitch Partner programme and fans can support them by subscribing to their channels for five dollars a month – about half of the revenue ends up with the content producers, the other half goes to Twitch. Loyal fans can thus provide, in contrast to the often fluctuating ad revenue for moving image ads, an additional, stable revenue base for streamers, a number of whom have already made their hobbies into professions and who provide elaborate productions on a daily basis.
Meanwhile Twitch hosts regular gaming talk shows, live coverage of gaming conventions like PAX or Gamescom and numerous gaming publications have discovered the platform as a way to interact with fans and readers.
Pioneer work: streaming platforms marketing
Twitch now reaches about 100 million viewers worldwide per month. In Germany, according to AGOF internet facts 2015-01 it has about 1.7 million unique users in an average month. Unsurprisingly for a platform with a strong focus gaming, a good 90% of users are men under 30 years.
Twitch has now become an indispensable platform for many gaming companies for promotion of new games. Many manufacturers of hard- and soft-ware, as well as consumer goods have also long been active on Twitch. But it would be a big mistake to use Twitch only as another placement location in the media plan for display and video advertising because the true strength of the platform lies in the relationship between the streaming personalities and the audience.
Tech-savvy young men are not usually distinguished by their high acceptance of advertising. It is thus even more important for brands to develop stream sponsorship, events and promotions together with the streamers and tailored to fit the special culture of the platform. The related expenses may seem daunting, as many channels have only a few thousand viewers per day. However many experiments can be implemented on a small-scale with a manageable budget to gather experience for larger promotions. You do not have to dump a man in the forest for three days and leave his fate to the sometimes anarchic Twitch-chat. But it is definitely worth taking a look at.