Visual communication is one of the oldest and most effective methods of reaching the audience, despite the fact that the modern advertising sector frequently embraces new customer interaction strategies and methods. 91% of purchasers choose interactive and visual material over traditional media, demonstrating the supremacy of visual communication over static communication (McCoy, 2017). The Esports business is one of the fastest-growing internet markets, but it must engage a more age-diverse audience to succeed. People of middle age and older view cybersports with pessimism, considering them to be addicted and worthless. Considering the significance of optical advertising, this article will focus on the visual interaction-based creation of a marketing campaign for the Esports (also known as electronic sports) industry.
A Problem Facing Esports
The rapid creation of Esports and even quicker rise in popularity of the industry created a new advertising potential for businesses. Esports is the term for competitive online gaming, in which players compete in front of a live audience in online tournaments. For a number of years, electronic sports have enthralled millions of fans and generated multimillion-dollar prize pools at competitions. To paint a clearer picture, worldwide esports earnings reached $1.1 billion in 2020, an increase of 15.7% from the previous year (NewZoo, 2020). Despite the popularity and profitability of gaming tournaments, the younger demographic is the most prevalent and accepting.
Generally, older people who are familiar with electronic sports do not support or take them seriously (Parker, 2019). However, the majority of adults have never investigated the benefits of Esports or even attempted to play. The majority of adults prefer to believe that Esports are not a serious pastime because they are primarily responsible for retaining today's young through internet use. In addition, regardless of professional level or gender, the video game audience is predominantly young. According to Pew Research Center's results, 28% of middle-aged Americans play videogames, compared to 55% of children (Parker, 2019). Consequently, the issue of older people's poor participation in the electronic sports business is clear and may present numerous prospects for growth.
Visual communication campaigns would be the most effective tool for interacting with seniors. A concise, straightforward, yet informative advertisement will pique the industry's curiosity, which they can then examine further. The communication will occur via multiple social media outlets. The primary objective of the campaign is to convey the notion that Esports is a business with great potential, in which anyone with any set of physical or technological capabilities may develop and even profit.
Several prominent corporations in the gaming industry continually demonstrate their participation in cyber tournaments. Riot Games is a company with 15 years of business expertise, founded by roommates at the University of Southern California (Riot Games, n.d.). Their primary objective was to form a partnership that will continue enhancing already-existing games rather than developing new ones. However, the company evolved swiftly and today has three primary development lines – videogame production, publication, and online-tournament organizing – with 24 locations globally (Riot Games, n.d.). This broad reach is the reason for the global success of the Riot Games.
With the release of their debut game, the company's creators received immediate global recognition. Their debut work, League of Legends, was a huge hit and became the most popular PC game in the world (Riot Games, n.d.). League of Legends is one of the most popular games, on which the company hosts major tournaments with millions of participants and viewers across the globe. In addition to the League of Legends World Championship, Riot Games has organized the Championship Series, the European Championship, and the Mid-Season Invitational since 2011. (Riot Games, n.d.). By arranging the tournaments, the company has become one of the most prominent video game firms.
Riot Games' current goal statement reads: "We aspire to be the world's most player-centric game company" (Riot Games, n.d.). Multiple honors and accolades won by Riot Games during the course of its existence demonstrate the successful execution of their mission. Fortune ranked the company as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For," "25 Best Companies to Work in Technology," "100 Best Workplaces for Millennials," and "50 Best Workplaces for Flexibility" (Riot Games, n.d.). Consequently, the organization is not just a successful corporation in terms of revenue and product monetization, but also an employer that provides a pleasant work environment for its employees.
The company's current global reach consists primarily of a younger demographic. Expanding the company's clientele to include more older customers would be a viable method for dramatically increasing its revenue. Riot Games' next natural step would be to extend its demographics to include older clients, given that it has already gained the favor and notice of young gamers. Riot Games might become the undisputed market leader if it develops support, new games, and tournaments exclusively for an older demographic.
Relevance of Riot Games to the Problem
Considering Riot Games' mission statement, in which they emphasize being completely player-focused, the firm may be very interested in the offer. The primary objective of the campaign is to recruit a larger proportion of the elderly population to the gaming business and to promote the concept of Esports through co-organizing competitions. 77% of older persons, according to Pew Research, would need assistance setting up a new device (Wakefield, 2015). Due to their limited familiarity with technology, the target audience will require assistance and direction throughout the essential processes, which is where Riot Games will be most effective.
The corporation's focus on its players aligns well with the campaign's primary objective. Through Riot Games’ video games and guided lessons, elder folks may learn about Esports and become dedicated clients of the brand. The following stage would be to convince the targeted group to participate in the events, which may create an altogether new league for older people. Participating in tournaments may become a profitable pastime for a large number of adults.
Numerous senior citizens love acquiring and learning new skills, as well as pursuing new interests and hobbies, especially those associated with technology. Studies demonstrate that continual involvement with technology promotes health, reduces depression, and increases access to social support, government services, and health resources (Ben & Peddel, 2017). Even though competition needs a specific set of talents, Riot Games offers numerous programs for learning and developing esports skills that are accessible to novice gamers. Therefore, the company benefits by acquiring a unique group of consumers, Esports acquires a substantial number of new competitors, and the industry as a whole generates more income.
The target demographic for the visual ad campaign is the middle-aged population, specifically those between the ages of 30 and 50 who are financially secure yet unfamiliar with the Esports sector. Due to the difficulties of insufficient awareness of electronic sports and its expanding popularity around the world, this audience was selected. In addition, the backgrounds, levels of technical experience, and levels of knowledge of older persons might vary substantially, causing many problems in the contemporary technologically advanced society. Even if studies have revealed a lack of confidence in the use of technology, they also indicate that the adoption of digital devices enhances the desire to learn more about a passion, which esports fits nicely, making it the primary driver in the use of technology among older individuals (Ben & Peddel, 2017). Therefore, despite the target audience's lack of technological knowledge, esports may be a useful tool for technical education.
The selected population encompasses a multimillion-person reach that, if the campaign is successful, will establish an entirely new tone for the video game tournaments industry. Today's older folks are more goal-oriented and have been shown to return to their earlier ambitions, but with greater financial resources (Drolet & Yoon, 2020). Curiosity may become the key motivator for learning about the esports sector, which may be bolstered by the visual campaign as individuals want to discover new activities. The ultimate objective of the visual campaign is to develop “Senior League” tournaments with participants of all racial groups aged 30 and older. Thus, the intended audience is pertinent to the objective. This audience segment is exceedingly difficult to convert owing to the potential that they have developed a negative opinion about video games and Esports in general. However, Riot Games has one of the strongest player retention rates due to the coaching programs designed to support the players. Therefore, the visual campaign must include aspects of communication that will ensure the population's response and promote interest in electronic sports.
According to the research undertaken, no campaigns targeting individuals aged 35 and older were detected. However, numerous teams and players aged 60 and older are recognized. Our campaign is tangentially tied to the esports center that debuted in Japan exclusively for sixty-year-old gamers. In July of 2020, a center will operate in Kobe; Japan allows only older adults, both experienced and inexperienced (Gaming instead of retiring, 2020). The new location provides tutorials to individuals who have never participated before, thereby extending the number of experienced esports players.
Senior esports is a community founded by a German project that aims to unite persons aged 35 and over to form a formidable playing league. They offer cups, tournaments, and leagues on a regular basis and develop a community with similar talents and abilities (Senior eSports, n.d.). Even though this project is slightly related to this campaign, it delivers a fundamentally distinct message than hosting tournaments for older players.
The final objective of the visual communication campaign is to transform the elder audience's perception of the Esports sector and, more crucially, to convince them to experience it. It is crucial to open up electronic sports to all population groups and begin dispelling the myth that only adolescents can be successful in tournaments. The average age of the industry's players is 16 to 17 years old; consequently, it is time to present older participants not only as novices but also as qualified opponents for the seasoned gamers.
Riot Games is one of the most renowned tournament organizers, with multimillion-dollar prize pools. Every year, gamers from all around the world participate in the tournaments, gaining exclusive experience, a networking foundation, and a chance to be recognized in the Esports. If the visual communication campaign reaches its potential and persuades adults aged 30 and older to participate in video gaming, the chances for growth are endless.
The sponsors should have a strong interest in this endeavor. It is an exceptional opportunity to recruit new client groups and create more games, promotions, and tournaments aimed at this population segment. Organization of specific contests for the 30-50 age groups, which may be referred to as “Senior League,” would demonstrate that all ages have the opportunity to excel in Esports and that the business is inclusive.
This segment has far greater financial stability than the average Esports player, who is 18 years old on average. Therefore, the development of specific products directed primarily at their target demographic would be an opportunity for Riot Games to increase their revenue. Including extra services for newcomers, the co-organization of tournaments with Riot Games would be highly profitable in the event of client conversion through the visual campaign. Coaching, video instructions, and new equipment – the options for generating income from those aged 30 and older who are just entering the electronic sports business are virtually limitless.
There are numerous advantages for the target audience of the visual campaign. First, the project brings older persons closer to young people. It's no secret that everyone desires to remain youthful for as long as possible; therefore, older folks usually attempt to adopt the newest fashions. A lifetime theory asserts that adults tend to want to blend in with their surroundings or alter it in order to exert control over it (Drolet & Yoon, 2020). In order to easily function and continue pursuing their goals, people's model for adapting to the current environment is an interest in cutting-edge technology. The advertising campaign will reassure the target population that Esports is the newest fad, which, by experiencing, will allow them to become trendsetters among their peers and help their cognitive function of adjusting to the contemporary environment.
Second, people aged 30 and older frequently encounter what is generally known as the "midlife crisis."
”Fear of stagnation may precipitate the crisis, in which the reality of mortality and recollections of the past drive an individual to develop this state (Therapy for Midlife Crisis, Therapist for Midlife Crisis, 2015). Gaining a new passion in the form of Esports can be not only a means of relieving stress, but also a source of revenue and a means of regaining a sense of youth and promise. The visual communication campaign has a high likelihood of converting pessimistic middle-aged people into avid gamers, despite the fact that electronic sports may be something that this audience would never normally consider.
By converting customers to the electronic sports business, middle-aged people may be able to extend their careers or escape workplace discontent. Numerous individuals are known to isolate themselves at their place of employment for a variety of reasons. Esports may evolve from a pastime into a new career path that will boost the mental health and happiness of its participants. In electronic sports, numerous coaching packages are available, and Riot Games is one organization that provides this service.
The primary distinction between older and younger players is channel outreach, which can be utilized for these categories. It has been demonstrated that people over the age of 30 use Facebook as their primary or only social media platform. Pew Research Center performed a study revealing that 87 percent and 79 percent of persons aged 30 to 49 use YouTube and Facebook, respectively, and roughly half of them are active on Instagram (Perrin & Anderson, 2019). Consequently, it is natural to conclude that Facebook and YouTube must serve as the principal platform for the execution of the esports campaign.
YouTube is a medium that is suitable for all ages, from infants to the elderly. With the variety of content it provides, it is simple to advertise specific products to a particular age range. Additionally, the site offers hundreds of gaming channels that may be utilized for effective event promotion. Lenovo's YouTube campaign, which targeted elderly gamers in particular, was a tremendous hit (Cooke, 2019). Such a method could help reach the desired audience if the channels' predominant viewers are accurately analyzed. In addition, it is possible to include advertisements into the selected movie by configuring certain settings.
The Facebook platform is a popular social media with a variety of sophisticated advertising solutions. The capacity to develop highly targeted and segmented advertising that helps advertisers reach specific individuals opens up vast opportunities for advertisers. Generating innovative material and interesting teasers can ensure a quick conversion and attract the desired demographic, in this case, those between the ages of 30 and 50 who have no particular interest in gaming. In addition, Facebook's vast user base will assist the campaign reach a larger portion of the target population, resulting in improved campaign outcomes.
Sample Image (Lenovo, 2017).
This graphic may be used to demonstrate that all ages are capable of dominating Esports. In this image, an adult is playing Esports, indicating that he is proficient in the videogame industry and demonstrating that this pastime is not limited to adolescents. This fact enhances the likelihood of persuading the intended audience to give Esports a chance and alter their perception of this business. This image also depicts the emotion of the material as well as a concentration on the process, which indicates a high level of engagement with the process and pleasure of Esports. Therefore, the image corresponds to the messaging concepts intended to be communicated: to improve the mental condition and pleasure of these individuals by persuading our target audience to begin participating in the Esports sector. They may extend their careers or leave dissatisfactory jobs.
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