How gaming can help brands reach diverse audiences

TBWA\London’s Chief Strategy Officer Anna Vogt and Planning Partner Donald Pirie explain why gaming presents an unprecedented opportunity for brands.

Anna Vogt and Donald Pirie

Chief Strategy Officer and Planning Partner TBWA\London


Gaming is fast becoming the panacea for all things 2021.

Not only has it helped billions of people overcome the lockdown blues, but it's stratospheric rise into the living rooms, laptops and iPhones of 40% of the global population has created an unprecedented opportunity for marketers. Gaming is a whole new way to connect with audiences from many, many walks of life in an extraordinarily personal and invested fashion which can outperform any performance marketing.

Because, when it comes to games, it’s all about passion. The average gaming session lasts 8 hours and 27 minutes each week compared to 2 hours and 22 minutes dedicated to social media.

Gaming no longer represents the pursuit of teenage boys playing shoot ‘em up games, far from it. Games have thousands of different entry points. From strategy to fantasy to farms, the multifariousness of gaming is reflected in the diversity of the audience it attracts. The average age of a gamer in Europe is 31. In the U.S., 44% of adults aged 50 and above play video games regularly. In the U.K., 14% of gamers identify as LGBQ+ and one-third of U.S. gamers are Hispanic, Asian, Black or African American.

An incredibly diverse mix of people find themselves participating at any given time during the day, presenting an ever-increasing opportunity for brands to connect with audiences from different walks of life at different points in their customer journey through different interests and passions.

We have identified three drivers which gaming can offer a brand to go the extra mile with (new) audiences.


Gaming has the ability to be enormously targeted in its approach. Despite this, and precisely because of it, it has created a global human network that reaches from Belize to Berlin. The media budget required to target the equivalent audience size sits way beyond the budgets of most marketeers and is usually reserved for global behemoths like McDonalds and Coke. But playing a part in a global blockbuster like Minecraft can act as a real magnifier of reach, regardless of your brand’s size. 

Case in point: 100 million unique viewers watched the League of Legends World Championship finals compared to the Super Bowl’s 98 million-strong audience.

Reporters Without Borders is another great example. Reporters Without Borders used Minecraft to create an in-game library in which they uploaded banned books from around the world. Making knowledge accessible to all is a fundamental pillar of their organisation. Gaming helped make that a reality and reach an audience who might otherwise have been excluded. And would have cost an absolute fortune to access through more traditional means.

100 million unique viewers watched the League of Legends World Championship finals compared to the Super Bowl’s 98 million-strong audience.

Anna Vogt, Chief Strategy Officer at TBWA\London


Global reach inevitably forges connections. And connections forged in games manifest a unique dynamic that often carries on outside of the game itself. Unlike many other platforms that draw a crowd, often fuelled by one-upmanship and social showboating, gaming, at its heart, fosters a communal spirit that is driven by collaboration, support and problem-solving. The opportunity to exercise these skills in many different environments enables brands to reach anybody from esporters to socialisers. Bringing your brand to life in an environment where your role adapts to the problem at hand and enables players to excel and connect to one another, is a powerful and emotional catalyst and one that can help accelerate awareness, interest and ultimately conversion.

The electronics giant Samsung generated a 243% increase in sales of its Galaxy Note 9 among 18- to 24-year-olds through creating its 'The Galaxy Skin' outfit in Fortnite.

“Gaming, at its heart, fosters a communal spirit that is driven by collaboration, support and problem-solving.”

Donald Pirie, Planning Partner at TBWA\London


But perhaps the greatest superpower that games can yield, beyond unbreakable bones and teleportation, is their ability to engage and create active participation. It’s impossible not to get involved. From time invested to emotional energy spent. Even bystanders can’t help but get sucked into and captured by the world of The Last of Us 2. With such attention and focus, brands have a much easier job on their hands. Especially when interacting with new audiences who have, perhaps, in the past been reluctant to engage. Participation is a vital ingredient for behaviour change. And, more so than any other media, games can create the environment for this to happen.

The condiment brand Hellman’s successfully brought to life its mission of ending food waste inside the Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. One of the game’s challenges is to exchange turnip crops for money before the crops spoil. So, Hellmann’s offered players the chance to convert their wasted turnip crops into real-life donations to a food-rescue charity. According to Ogilvy Toronto, the campaign resulted in the brand giving away 25,000 meals to people in need.

So, whether you’re looking to recruit the next generation customer for your brand, re-engage disenfranchised ones or launch a new product for a niche audience, consider how gaming can help. A lot has been done already to make it a world for everyone to feel included in. The more brands can get involved in meaningful ways, the better off this virtual world will become for everyone.

Guest Author

Anna Vogt and Donald Pirie

Chief Strategy Officer and Planning Partner TBWA\London


Anna Vogt: Currently, Anna leads LSEG and the post-merger comms for the recent £35BN AMD Xilinx acquisition. She has also worked with Lenovo to celebrate the human stories that their products enable and helped IKANO bank to reposition their savings products to appeal to millennials who see no value in saving. Donald Pirie: Donald has amassed an impressive career as a brand and communications strategist applying his keen eye for story and narrative to some of the top tech hardware brands such as Dell, Sony and AMD. An avid gamer in his spare time, Donald is the go-to guy for all things gaming, from the latest industry trends to building your own rig.

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