By Carlo Versano
A generation ago, when a leading food brand wanted to debut a new product, it would seek out glitzy pop stars or professional athletes for marketing deals.
How sponsorships have changed.
After years of more traditional partners ー think Team USA ー Hershey's ($HSY) unveiled a deal to promote its latest creation, a combination Hershey-Reese's bar, with the help of two of esports' biggest names: DrLupo and Ninja.
Cheddar was at TwitchCon in San Jose, Calif. and got an early look at Hershey's first foray into esports and live-streaming from the company's head of integrated media, Charlie Chappell.
Chappell said the "mash-up of two of our greatest brands" was an ideal product to pair with the friends and sometimes teammates Ninja and DrLupo, two of the most popular streamers in the world. "What better way to introduce it," he said.
The sponsorship is the latest example of "non-endemic" brands, particularly in the snack food space, angling to get a piece of the red-hot esports market. Earlier this year, gummy favorite Sour Patch Kids inked a deal with the Overwatch league and PepsiCo's ($PEP) Doritos hosted a special sponsored event at TwitchCon this past weekend.
Chappell said the "combination" of Hershey's and well-known figures in esports was obvious to some ー while others required more explanation.
"We knew it would get a lot of attention from people," he said.
Hershey's is the maker of iconic candies like Kit Kat, Pay Day, Take 5, Twizzlers, and of course, Hershey's Kisses and Hershey's chocolate bars.
Financial terms of the sponsorship were not disclosed.
For full interview click here.