The best esports advertising campaigns of 2021

Image credit: BMW

With just moments into 2022, it’s time to reveal ESI’s annual roundup of the most creative esports ad campaigns.

At Esports Insider, we’ve chosen to celebrate the creativity of the industry by showcasing some of the most meaningful, compelling and exceptional ads running throughout 2021, whether through long-running campaigns or one-off collaborations with brands.

Here are, in no particular order, what we consider to be some of the best and most creative esports ad campaigns of 2021:

Erste Group x LEC: Esports Doomsday

League of Legends is known for its fun advertising campaigns, so it’s no surprise that the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) has reached this list for the third year in a row.

This short, in collaboration with European financial services provider ERSTE Group, features desperate gamers burning gaming chairs and smashing computers after a TV host says esports is not a sport. Needless to say, the love for esports wins in the end.

Under the hashtag #believeinyourself, the countryside aims to encourage gamers and esports fans to “keep ignoring the enemies” and “believe in themselves like they always have”.

BMW: a year in rivalry

In 2020, the German automobile giant BMW announced partnership with five major esports organizations, namely Cloud9, Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix, G2 Esports and T1, as part of its multi-year campaign called #UnitedInRivalry. In keeping with the campaign message, this was seen as a holistic approach to BMW esports, as these organizations are based in North America, England, Germany and China.

In the next step of the campaign, BMW made it clear its true purpose: to create “brutal competition” by forging an alliance between some of the best competing esports organizations.

Warned that it was going to strike again, the car brand kept its promise and returned a few months later with a teaser of his manga series Heroes of Rivalry, which features players from partner teams taking on adventures in a parallel fantasy environment. Using its marketing potential, the series also incorporates information on BMW’s future esports implications.

Ralph Lauren x G2 Esports: SO MAJESTY

Choosing G2 League of Legends star Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson as the face of his campaign with luxury fashion brand Ralph Lauren was undeniably a great choice by G2.

Announcement video reveals Ralph Lauren as exclusive fashion supplier for G2 Esports, marking the brand’s first foray into the esports industry. Following this partnership, the two brands also launched a series of “digital first” activations on platforms such as TikTok and Twitch.

Additionally, the campaign straddled Ralph Lauren’s Wimbledon campaign, which featured Rekkles alongside other traditional “high performance” sports athletes, symbolizing esports’ equal standing among traditional sports disciplines.

ESL and Intel: 20 years of esports collaboration

Without ESL, Intel and the historic collaboration between the two entities, esport would not be what we know today.

To celebrate this two-decade formative partnership, Intel Gaming released a spooky video with reruns of some of the most important and emotional moments in esports history. Filled with emotions and feelings, this ad will surely leave no esports fan cold.

Nike x T1: Just a player

It’s no secret that esports fans can be quite toxic at times, and the Korean esports organization T1 in particular has its own share of experiences on this.

In this video spot featuring former T1 streamer JisooGirl, T1 and sportswear giant Nike set out to highlight gender bias in games and promote a simple yet powerful message: “Don’t hate the gamer, be just better ”. We are all just gamers.

Rogue x Kia: a movement that inspires

After the North American esports organization Rogue announced that it has renewed its partnership with automaker Kia Motors, this well-crafted video was designed to support Kia’s “Movement that Inspires” brand story.

In the video, former Rogue League of Legends player Steven ‘Hans sama’ Liv talks about his inspiration for pursuing his goals, in design and in esports, and emphasizes the importance of ambitions, passion and the will to improve.

As part of the campaign, Rogue and Kia produced several other spots featuring Rogue players, all of which focused on inspiration as the primary driving force.

Fnatic x Jack Link’s: BEEEEFF MODE

There is something really appealing to gamers in the state of the hype, as the theme can be found in all types of advertising in games and e-sports.

As such, Jack Link’s, in collaboration with Fnatic, has gone for “beast mode”, or in this case “BEEEEFF MODE”, being touted as the catalyst for all game achievement. Wait, the spot suggests that this state of total game dominance is achieved by munching on Jack Link’s beef jerky.

As part of the campaign, fans were able to share their biggest #BeefMode moments for a chance to win Fnatic-themed gaming peripherals and have their videos released on Fnatic social media.

Williams Racing: Drive. No matter what

The gripping Williams Racing video showcases the organization’s philosophy – ‘Drive. No Matter What ‘- shows a passionate female driver on her way, from racing games to driving real things.

Accompanied by great music and eye-catching visuals, the Williams Racing video is truly a great advertisement that shows racing as a career is doable and often begins as a hobby.

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