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Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming Gaming Gaming Advertising

Creating Discord: decentralized advertising on gamers’ favorite channel

By Morgan Karpiel-Nicholas, Copywriter

Admind Branding & Communications


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May 20, 2022 | 5 min read

In recent years, brands have begun to take advantage of Discord’s popularity with gamers. But creating a campaign for native gaming environments takes strategy. For The Drum’s Gaming Advertising Deep Dive, Morgan Nicholas-Karpiel of branding and comms agency Admind tells us how brands can win in this bold new world of decentralized advertising.

Admind on how brands can make the most of the gaming space.

Admind on how brands can make the most of Discord

Gamers are no longer who we expect them to be. With a global community of over 2.5 billion people, where 45% are women and 70% are over the age of 18, it’s no wonder that brands are eager to connect with customers in virtual worlds.

But for companies that haven’t ventured into this territory before, it can be difficult to know what approach to take. Creating mini-games and branded experiences, or sponsoring gaming influencers, might be at the top of a savvy marketer’s list, but there are a few less obvious choices that offer great rewards.

Enter Discord, the social platform made popular by gamers.

Launched in 2015, the VoIP and instant messaging app quickly grew popular with esports and LAN tournament gamers, and then gained traction with the wider gaming community through its use by Reddit communities and Twitch streamers.

Using Discord, players can communicate with each other throughout their game experiences. They can also set up and host their own communities (‘servers’), discuss issues that are important to them and grow their audiences.

The brand opportunity: Jack in the Box

Brands can also create their own servers, offer NFTs, build relationships with clients and quickly attract new members.

Discord is all about engagement. Servers can be thought of as website landing pages with multiple discussion channels where members can interact with brand representatives, fans and advocates.

For this to be successful, brands must consider what they can offer to Discord users. How does the brand fit into the world of gaming or the lives of gamers? What are the common interests of the brand’s customers on Discord? What types of events will interest them? For the popular US restaurant chain Jack in the Box, the answer was Comic-Con and late-night fast food.

To connect with fans and potential customers who value the convenience of 24/7 fast food, Jack in the Box created an online after-party event for the 2021 Comic-Con convention in San Diego, California. The event featured a concert and an NFT auction, along with special offers and product giveaways – all hosted on Discord.

The event generated over 27,000 messages and attracted over 7,000 new members, earning Jack in the Box a top spot among the branded channels on Discord.

Decentralized marketing: Hot Topic

US clothing retailer Hot Topic chose to target the interests of its customers by launching a server called ‘Anime and Beyond’ ahead of the 2021 Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California. This approach allowed Hot Topic to leverage customers’ interest in anime to connect with them directly, hosting discussions that offered value beyond what ads on traditional social media channels could offer.

This goes to the heart of where branding and marketing are going. Discord doesn’t offer direct mechanisms for advertising. It’s a decentralized environment, making it impossible to plaster targeted ads everywhere. Relationships are built on interactions, discussions, offers and events that have meaning to the target audience.

For the generations of consumers (gen Z and millennials) that have built up an immunity (sometimes even a resentment) toward ads in their digital experience spaces, Discord offers the opportunity to connect with authenticity.

Some brands, such as the restaurant chain Chipotle, even use Discord as a social-listening tool – gaining insight into how their brands are perceived, how trends are changing and how they can improve their customer experience (CX) tools.

The strategy you use to connect with customers and fans on Discord should be based on forming relationships that are meaningful to your audience. Whether it involves setting up a server to discuss the interests your members share or hosting events that offer members a unique experience, success on Discord relies on being accessible, maintaining relationships and offering value.

For more on all the different ways brands can advertise in gaming, from virtual billboards to product placements, social lenses and even games of their own, check out The Drum’s Gaming Advertising Deep Dive.

Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming Gaming Gaming Advertising

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Admind Branding & Communications

Admind Branding & Communications is an international branding powerhouse with top-tier creative talent drawn from around the world. We work with global companies,...

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