Marrying e-sports and music: How Hyperplay sought to create new content for sponsors

Hyperplay 2018, an event which encompasses e-sports and music, recently saw gold sponsor Unilever’s CLEAR Men brand and telco partner Singtel joining in the fun. The event, jointly organised by League of Legends creator Riot Games and MTV, also had presenting sponsors such as Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and the National Youth Council (NYC).

Hyperplay also looked to engage various ASEAN e-gaming communities in the region, with teams from 10 countries competing in the e-sports competition segment. This included markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Philippines, Thailand.

Marketed as a “the first integrated ASEAN e-sports and music festival”, Hyperplay 2018 was organised as part of an ongoing YOUTHx celebration. YOUTHx is a government-driven celebration of diverse youth interests, which targets youths and aims to inspire them. This saw the annual SHINE Festival and GetActive! SG event all culminating at the vicinity surrounding the Singapore Indoor Stadium and Sports Hub over the weekend.

Speaking to Marketing on ground at the event, Paras Sharma, SVP and GM of SEA, Viacom International Media Networks (MTV), said that from the sponsorship point of view, through Hyperplay, both MTV and Riot Games aim to create a property which brands and sponsors would like to associate with. Both also aim to bring credibility with the new property.

“Next is looking at a new innovative take when it comes to presenting the marketing message,” Sharma said, adding that it is also about engagement, experience and exposure for brands.

He explained that the organisers are looking to find how they can provide engagement which runs over a period of time, followed by an event which gives a wonderful experience. This is followed by exposure, through the media platform, as well as the reach.

Echoing the sentiment, Christopher Tran, country manager for regional SEA of Riot Games, said that the event also provides more opportunities for content marketing.

“We have a content type that is consumed in ‘libraries’, which can be binged or consumed over a long period of time while being evergreen,” Tran said, adding that consumers are yearning for more novelty when it comes to consuming content.

“At the end of the day, content is king and is what drives people to events as it creates media channels. It also creates excitement for brands so they are just [viewed] as commodities,” Tran said.

Sponsors cash in to connect with the youths and gaming community

In a conversation with Marketing, Roy Pek, global assistant brand manager for CLEAR Men said the brand’s support comes as e-sports as a segment becomes more recognised and relevant as a mainstream competitive sport. Traditionally – CLEAR Men has been supportive of sports such as football, he added.

At Hyperplay 2018, the brand set up a booth giving out free travel-sized CLEAR Men shampoos in a bid to reach out to youths. The event is one of the brand’s many pushes to convince young males of the message that CLEAR is a product which is 100% engineered for men.

“A lot of times guys just use what's in the bathroom, or whatever their mother, girlfriend or wife buys. However, they don’t know that a man’s scalp is different,” Pek said, adding that the brand’s event brochures and standees also consist of three messages as part of market development communications.

The results have also been positive for CLEAR Men as a sponsor, which found on ground that many young male consumers had reached the revelation that their scalp was different and required its own different formula.

“The hair segment has evolved so much; there are so many more products now to help the scalp for women. But on the men's side, what we are trying to do is simply get them to use the men's shampoo. The next step would then be to convince men to use the other haircare steps as well,” Pek added.

Also setting up a booth in hopes of an outreach is Singtel, which has been making great strides into the e-sports segment, increasing its engagement with Millennials and those passionate about gaming.

For Danny Theseira, director of product marketing, Broadband and Home Solutions, Consumer Singapore, Singtel, getting on board Hyperplay is one of the brand’s many pushes to cater more to gamers.

“We hope that we can improve our brand equity within this particular segment and this is just the beginning. We have more gaming and music-related events and promotions to come,” Theseira said.

This year also marks a return for Singtel to e-sports, through its participation and sponsorship in related gaming events and teams or individuals. By making a push into e-sports, Singtel is also looking into creating dedicated products for gamers.

The move is unsurprising nonetheless, seeing the telco’s recent striking of a gaming partnership with Razer to debut the PVP eSports Championship, which looks to be a multi-title and regional league. The move was a bid to grow its gaming and digital content business across its footprint in Asia Pacific, together with Optus and regional associates Airtel, AIS, Globe and Telkomsel.

Watch the full interviews with sponsors here, along with event highlights: