Rockstar Energy Drink Launches Largest Game Promotion to Date with Custom Gears of War 4 Cans!

The Gears of War franchise has inspired many artists over the years to create their own interpretations of the series’ iconic art style, and this fall, Xbox is partnering with one of the world’s most popular energy drink brands to deliver something special for fans. Today, Rockstar Energy Drink and Xbox unveiled the Gears of War 4 collector’s edition series of cans featuring four original designs by artists inspired by the blockbuster videogame franchise.

Artists Jesse Hernandez, Hydro74, and GodMachine were hand selected by the Coalition and Rockstar Energy to capture the authentic vibe of both brands. The designs will be featured on 16 oz. cans of Rockstar Energy Original and Punched available at retail stores across US and Canada this fall. United Kingdom will feature one exclusive design available on Rockstar Energy Original.

“The universe of Gears is all its own; both the game world and the art that it’s inspired,” said Guy Welch, director of marketing at Xbox. “For over 10 years, Gears has been fortunate to collaborate with many of the artists we admire including and most recently tattoo artist Steve Soto, comics legend Tony Moore (The Walking Dead, Batman), composer Ramin Djawadi (Iron Man, Game of Thrones), and hip-hop duo Run the Jewels. The Rockstar Energy program allowed us to meet and develop relationships with a wide range of new artists over the past year, and we’re proud to welcome them to the Gears family.”

Starting Oct. 1, you’ll be able to Gear-Up and collect under-the-tab codes found on any collector’s edition can. Every code entered at GEARS4.ROCKSTARENERGY.COM unlocks exclusive in-game content inspired by the artist series and also earns entries for the chance to win over 500 prizes including, Xbox One S consoles, Samsung HDTVs, & games and more.

“Fueling the passions of consumers has always been at the core of Rockstar Energy Drink.  In partnership with the Gears of War franchise, together we are bringing fans a range of authentic content to enhance their gaming experience. We’re excited for fans to start Gearing Up,” said Jason May, EVP of Marketing at Rockstar Energy Drink.

If you’re attending PAX West this weekend, you’ll be able to score your first Rockstar Energy Gears of War 4 collectors cans at a variety of locations:

  • Friday September 2 starting at 6:30 PM PT at the Penny Arcade “For the Watch” Gears of War 4 event
  • September 2 – 5 at BAIT Seattle at 915 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122
  • September 2 – 5 look for the Rockstar Energy street team in downtown Seattle near PAX West

Additionally, Xbox will be featuring the artist designs in a limited time t-shirt collection, BAIT x Gears of War, with Seattle boutique BAIT at 915 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122.

Finally, fans of the artwork can download desktop wallpapers for their PC, tablet or mobile device from xbox.com.

 

AD WEEK ON ESPORTS

AD WEEK ON ESPORTS

As eSports Grows Online, TV Networks Like TBS and ESPN Are Hoping to Cash In And it's helping brands reach elusive male millennials.

BY TIM BAYSINGER - PUBLISHED 2.8.2016

When TBS premieres its inaugural eSports competition on May 27, advertisers and programmers will be watching closely to see if the nascent world of organized multiplayer video gaming is ready to become a television juggernaut.

The 10-week championship series, which will be televised and streamed live from Turner Studios in Atlanta, kicks off the network's E-League, a pro league formed by Turner Sports and partner global talent management and events firm WME/IMG. But as with any emerging genre that suddenly finds itself in the spotlight, E-League will have to find the right balance between achieving scale and retaining its core audience of digitally forward young men. The test will be to see if TBS' sports fans who watch March Madness and Major League Baseball will tune in Fridays from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. to see E-League's first-shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Coverage of the games also will be streamed on Bleacher Report's Team Stream app.

Craig Barry, Turner Sports evp of production and chief content officer, is cognizant of the tightrope the network has to walk. "[We understand] our obligation to the hard-core fan," he said, noting that TBS will craft storylines around the gamers, much like NBC's Olympic athlete profiles, to clue in casual fans. "Once you have that emotional connection, you open the door for a wider audience."

Some media buyers, however, wonder whether the games will translate well to TV. "[Gamers] kind of developed their own ecosystem," explained Jason Maltby, director of national broadcast TV, MindShare. "It will be very interesting to see if you can get somebody who's grown-up finding these events in the digital space to come back to a linear environment."

There's no question that video sports streaming is big business on a global scale. There were 112 major eSports events around the world that generated over $20 million in ticket sales and handed out $61 million in total prize money. The 2015 League of Legends World Championship drew 36 million unique viewers on Twitch and other streams around the globe. Revenues from advertising, sponsorships, merchandise and ticket sales are projected to reach $463 million in 2016, and surpass $1 billion by 2019, according to Newzoo.

Online gaming has had endemic brands like Intel, Logitech and computer maker Asus sign on, but a wider swath of marketers is also placing big bets, including smartphone maker HTC, which has sponsored a trio of North American teams with custom-engraved phones.

Turner's push into eSports is just the latest move into TV for the genre. Last year, ESPN2 attempted to get into eSports by airing a college competition called Heroes of the Dorm, riffing off Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm, but the play on Heroes confused both viewers and its own broadcasters. The event barely registered among viewers, scoring a 0.1 Nielsen rating, while Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd, who was at ESPN at the time, ranted that he would rather quit his job than cover an eSports tournament.

But ESPN2 isn't throwing in the towel. The collegiate tournament plans to broadcast Heroes' Grand Finals on April 10. Early coverage will stream in March on ESPN3, Twitch and YouTube. Advertisers for the competition have not been announced.

"You can't be a marketer today and not see what's happening," said Dave Rosenberg, chief strategic officer for GMR Marketing, which last year launched a dedicated eSports practice.

Getting a brand's message in front of an eSports audience isn't as simple as buying a TV spot. "Advertisers need to be open to a less traditional approach of integrating their brand into the actual content," explained Turner Sports' Craig Barry. Here, some tips on how to score points:

Do it yourself

Rather than simply sponsor tournaments, brands like Red Bull and Intel have created their own, which shows gamers they're truly invested in this space. "Intel is probably the biggest eSports brand," said Mathieu Lacrouts, founder, CEO of Paris-based eSports ad agency Hurrah.

Prove your value

Find out the brand value that you want to talk about that makes sense to the gaming audience. "You've got to find which one of those actually layers into the eSports environment," said GMR's Dave Rosenberg. For example, Comcast touched on gamers' need for strong Internet connections to market its broadband service.

Treat pro gamers like influencers

Between wearing a logo on their T-shirt to doing content on their livestreams between games, developing a relationship with gamers like Rooster Teeth or TheSyndicateProject adds credibility to your brand. "This community knows that this is what is keeping these guys lights on," said Raymonde Brillantes-Green, vp, group director of media, Digitas.

No poseurs

Gamers aren't stupid. They can easily sniff out brands that don't understand this space and know when they're being pandered to. "I would really stress education," said Alex Fletcher, founder, CEO, Entiva Group. Brands that don't heed this warning will get roasted for it too. "They're not going to be afraid to express their opinion," added Brillantes-Green.