Brands share their winning formula for gaming

Top brand leaders share their strategy on winning gamers over at Dubai Lynx

“If you’re not paying attention to esports and gaming, you’re not paying attention as a marketer.”

Emirates NBD CMO Moadh Bukhash said these words on a Dubai Lynx panel last week. 

Aptly named Brands in the Hot Seat, the panel saw Campaign Middle East editor Justin Harper ask top brand leaders about different trends and issues in the creative industry.

As one of the biggest trending topics in the region, gaming is of major interest to these brand leaders.

Adding value to the gamer

“We see gaming as a mean, not a goal,” said Passant El Ghannam, Marketing Director at Heinz. “We see gaming as a way to connect with our consumers, not just to be there.”

She stresses the fact that gamers don’t want to be interrupted or stop their game to watch a 30-second ad.

“The winning formula is to add value to the gamer to connect with them,” she added.

She shared that Heinz as a brand had already participated in a few successful attempts to become a part of gaming.

Pointing to the importance of insight, El Ghannam mentioned how Heinz collaborated with Call of Duty to create a map called Hidden Spots. The campaign tapped into the insight that gamers couldn’t pause their game to eat whenever they wanted.

Instead, this map had hidden spots that allowed gamers to hide and take a break to have a snack.

Audience captivity

On his perspective on the winning formula, Fabio Tambosi, SVP – Global Marketing at ESL FACEIT Group, said that one important currency in marketing is audience captivity.

“It’s not only about grabbing their attention, it’s about retaining their attention.”

Tambosi shares how esports gaming events often have a captivated audience where gamers often spend 12 hours or more.

He stresses that it is important to find an authentic way to engage with the gaming community.

“You have a raving fans of a community, you come in the wrong way they stiff you out quite fast.”

Tambosi also mentioned a different reason brands approach gamers. He mentioned that DHL is interacting with gaming to find and attract employment.

Gamers are tech-savvy and these are the type of employees DHL looks out for. To do this, DHL as a brand has built a deep love and connection with its audience.

Proving his point, Tambosi mentions a time when he visited a gaming arena filled with 20,000 people chanting “DHL! DHL!”


Emirates NBD CMO Moadh Bukhash took a look at a different angle to participate in the conversation – gamification.

He focused on how gamification could help with positive reinforcement when it came to financial management. 

These included rewarding people with badges for achievements or saving more than certain percentages of their peer groups. 

He said, “It is really about finding gaming elements that drive people people towards behaviour like fitness apps do. But in a financial management context.”