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How Lenovo rose to – literally – the top of mind for gamers

When Lenovo partnered with Yahoo to create an O2O League of Legends (LoL) eSports campaign-event, it hit three birds with one stone.

First, it debunked the stigma of eSports as a hobby for homebodies. Second, it introduced the activity to the rest of the non-gaming world. Third and finally, it made Lenovo the ultimate brand, not only the minds of 300 million worldwide LoL players but also among amateur players and the general masses.

It was a challenging trifecta of marketing lingo design.

The spotlight of the campaign was – a first of its kind – offline, six-hour-long LoL competition held in Hong Kong’s Harbour City, performed in partnership with Yahoo.

Prior to the event, Yahoo reached out to more than 800 thousand members to compete in an online “Yahoo x Lenovo Legion of Championship” tournament. This was accomplished via Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Premium ads, native ads with precise targeting, programmatic ads, search ads, social networks, and branded editorials. Two finalist teams had a chance to take home attractive cash prizes, while the winning team would gain the opportunity to play against LoL eSports superstar team, The Flash Wolves, in the Harbour City semi-finals.

Yet, Lenovo x Yahoo’s efforts to reach tech-heads didn’t stop there. Specifically, it published a special soft-feature on its latest Legion model gaming laptop on the Yahoo-backed tech blog, Engadget. To subtly drive top-of-mind, Lenovo branding was also placed on all online exposure points.

Meanwhile, Yahoo targeted an entirely separate widespread audience spectrum, by debuting an all-ages-friendly eSports programme. This “KOL-edu-tainment” approach featured local celebrities and influencers such as Jason Chan, Ansheles, and Super Girls engaging the less-savvy audience members, not only with eSports titles but in a wide variety of game types and genres to further build rapport.

The programme was broadcast on Yahoo Front page, Yahoo TV, and on the cross-device Yahoo App. Aside from drawing eyeballs, the approach was also hoped to debunk the misconception of eSports as a complicated game mode frequented only by homebodies, when it is actually in fact, a gender and age-friendly activity.

The final headline event day itself was streamed live on Yahoo TV across Hong Kong,  Taiwan, and social media channels with a real-time chat room function and live, bilingual commentary from renowned eSports experts. On-site audiences also had a chance to play games, win gifts, and witness celebrities Jason Chan and Super Girls going head-to-head in amateur games. The Flash Wolves squad made a special fans’ meet-and-greet appearance and even posed their muscles against singer Ken Hung and gamer Rose Ma. This all further solidified Yahoo and Lenovo’s reputation in the gaming world.

Lenovo’s branding was prominent at the event, displayed in the title sponsor logo, in product placements such as branded gaming seats, and in the use of the Legion laptops and designated Lenovo eSports gear; including mice, headsets, and uniforms. The Legion model was also placed in a nearby product booth for viewing by onsite visitors.

This truly 360-degree campaign reached more than 200 million eyeballs, of which over 2.6 million were earned during the six-hour eSports live event broadcast on the Yahoo HK and TW homepages, as well as social media. Most importantly, Lenovo topped Apple as the most-preferred brand amongst gamers post-campaign. A win-win for all concerned.

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