Riding the Covid-19 wave and succeeding in marketing: How 9 Pandas Held Four Sponsored Activations for Natus Vincere and 1xBet
Nassim Taleb proposed the concept of a black swan — an extremely rare event that no one can predict, but which happens unexpectedly and radically changes the usual course of life. Its perfect illustration — Covid-19 — hit the eSports sphere as well: at the same time tournaments with thousands were forbidden and transferred to an online format. In these circumstances 9 Pandas promptly developed a new strategy for activating the sponsorship contract between 1xBet and the NAVI eSports team which involved 4 promotional campaigns — the average growth of the 1xBet audience in the eSports category was 28%.
# 1 Los Angeles Heat Promotional Campaign
In the spring of 2020 Dota 2 Los Angeles Heat tournament was supposed to take place in the cyber arena, but it was suddenly transferred to an online format and we as the agency accompanying the 1xBet and NAVI sponsorship contract needed a new activation format. We chose a draw of valuable in-game items from Dota 2, limited edition NAVI T-shirts and two PS4Pro consoles which our agency stylized in the NAVI style. The draw was attended by fans who made the right bets in 1xBet site on NAVI matches as part of the Los Angeles Heat tournament. To activate the promotional campaign we used the players' personal Twitch channels and NAVI social networks and posted materials about the campaign in the eSports media. Examples of publications — Sports.ru, Стратегия.Ком, Sportclan.
# 2 Anti-Corona Show Charity Match
Covid-19 caused serious damage to medical organizations, especially in April, when there was a peak in the incidence in the world. NAVI and we decided that it was necessary to hold a charity CS:GO match to support them. The match was attended by NAVI players, footballers of the Krasnodar football club Remi Kabella and Matvey Safonov and Twitch streamers — GENSYXA, Denly, QRUSH, Smorodinova, Seized, Archangel_hs and Modestal. The streamers broadcasted matches on their channels increasing publicity effect. We managed to collect more donations by motivating viewers: they made a donation for a certain amount and became participants in the drawing of NAVI jerseys and gaming devices from Logitech, a NAVI partner. The 1xBet company doubled the amount of donations collected and transferred it to the GlobalGiving Coronavirus Charitable Foundation. Materials about the promotion were published in the media. Examples of publications — Sports.ru, Букмекеры.рф and SportClan.
# 3 NAVI EPIC DROPS
Dota 2 and CS:GO have cases-chests containing in-game items that players can see and can pick up if they open these cases with a special key costing about 150 rubles. The problem for players is that it is statistically unlikely that a truly valuable item will drop when they open that cases. The NAVI EPIC DROPS promotional campaign modified this game mechanic by inviting players to bet on 1xBet site on eSports events and open chests with a high probability of getting a valuable item. One user won the “Dragon Story” skin from CS:GO costing in Steam auction 140000 rubles. In the activation we used the social networks NAVI and 1xBet developed a special design — minimalistic colorful NAVI men, and posted materials about the campaign in the e-sports media. Examples of publications — Sports.ru, Букмекеры.рф, Wellbets.
# 4 Show match NAVI 2010 vs NAVI 2020
In February 2020 NAVI won the Counter-Strike IEM Katowice tournament as the previous NAVI team line-up did. There started an active discussion in the eSports industry — which NAVI team line-up is more professional and which victory is more significant. So we decided to organize a show match between NAVI 2020 and NAVI 2010 on August 1. We stylized the analytics studio as 1xBet brand and CS:GO maps by placing Pauls mascot and links to the 1xBet website in format of in-game graffiti. Additionally, 1xBet website hosted the Boomers vs Zoomers campaign: fans were placing bets on the outcomes of the NAVI 2020 vs NAVI 2010 match and took part in the drawing of valuable prizes from NAVI and Logitech team, a manufacturer of computer equipment for gamers. The professional broadcast in Russian and English was organized by the streaming company Maincast covering events in CS:GO and Dota 2. We have posted information about the match and the Boomers vs Zoomers campaign in the eSports media. Examples of publications — Sports.ru, Wellbets, Букмекеры.рф.
In February 2020 9 Pandas flew to Poland to NAVI team participating in CS:GO IEM Katowice tournament to discuss the strategy for activating the sponsorship contract with 1xBet. A tense week passed in brainstorms, constant discussions and debates about the best way to act. The day before the start of the playoffs organizers announced that Polish government prohibits spectators from attending tournament matches. NAVI and we thought that it was a temporary situation and that the next tournaments in other countries, as planned, would be held live. And we approved the final strategy, but when we flew back to Russia we realized that Covid-19 is a serious and long-term threat. Approved strategy was no longer suitable and we urgently needed to redo everything. And we redid it. Nothing is impossible.