Danone targets adult gamers with move towards the metaverse: ‘It’s something of a test and learn’

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

For Danone, the in-game marketing campaign represents a move towards entering the metaverse. Image source: Danone UK&I
For Danone, the in-game marketing campaign represents a move towards entering the metaverse. Image source: Danone UK&I

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Probiotic drinking yoghurt brand Actimel is making preliminary steps towards the metaverse with the launch of an in-game marketing campaign via Fortnite. “It’s a first of its kind for Actimel in raising awareness of the brand with a difference audience,” Danone UK&I head of marketing, Rachel Wright, tells FoodNavigator.

Gamers are no longer a niche target market, with an estimated 50% of Europeans playing video games across online, smartphone, tablet, or home console platforms, according to DataProt.

Epic Games-owned Fortnite is amongst the most popular, thought to be the most played last year. Launched in 2017, today Fortnite has upwards of 500m registered users.

In a marketing move designed to tap into this sizeable market segment, dairy major Danone is announcing a custom map integration within the Fortnite gaming ecosystem for its Actimel brand, with an extra in-game advantage: immunity.

The Immunity Station by Actimel

Probiotic drinking yoghurt Actimel contains vitamins B6 and D which support the normal function of the immune system.

Actimel’s gaming integration – an Immunity Station – is designed to help players’ characters survive longer. The campaign is running for just over a month globally within one of Fortnite’s trending maps, Apfel’s Zombie Hunter, where players can top up their characters with an extra shield potion.

The function will give gamers’ characters a 30 second protection in the form of an aura to fight off the enemy and ‘slay’ oncoming zombies.

The in-game activation will help characters survive longer via immunity benefits. Image source: Danone UK&I

The campaign is being boosted by a series of digital films rolled out in the brand’s ecosystem as well as paid media. UK gaming influencer Vikram Singh Barn (Vikkstar123) is also producing content throughout the community to share with his online community.

“The gaming industry has always been on the leading edge of digital innovation. We’re excited to bring a unique integration with a clear solution to Fornite’s engaged audience to show how Actimel can be incorporated into your daily routine,” ​said Rachel Wright, head of marketing at Danone UK & Ireland.

“With our recent research showing that nearly a third of Brits lack knowledge in knowing how to support their immune system health, this is a unique and interesting way for us to show how we are bringing immune support to the top of consumers’ agenda.”

Raising awareness to a different audience

The decision to market Actimel within the Fortnite ecosystem was influenced by a desire to reach adult gamers and encourage market engagement.

“We wanted to tap into a key audience and drive engagement in a space which is culturally relevant for them,” ​Wright told FoodNavigator. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Actimel brand to show up in a way to gamers which is an authentic, value adding activation for them.”

The dairy major sees an opportunity to ‘leverage the strength of the brand’ via a benefit for gamers. “The shield potion from the Immunity Station by Actimel not only supports their characters’ defences but additionally gives them immunity for 30 seconds.

“Actimel helps support the normal function of the immune system in real life, now Actimel also gives your character a little something to help in the game too.”

In working to raise awareness only, there is no payment required for gamers to use the Immunity Station by Actimel. Danone will measure gamers’ reactions to the activation through social listening and engagement with posts from influencers.

“The KPIs for this campaign are based on the amplification of the campaign, for example video views, live screening with hero talent, engagement rates above industry average, and media pieces in gaming and trade press,” ​we were told.

‘A test and learn’ to navigate the metaverse

For Danone, the in-game marketing campaign represents a move towards entering the ‘metaverse’ – a term used to describe a combination of digital and physical worlds which likely include virtual reality, augmented reality, or both.

Last year, the metaverse was picked up by consultancy major Ernst & Young (EY) as a buzzword to watch in its Future Consumer Index. Food brands need to resolve how they can create consistency of brand experience between the digital and physical, said Jon Copestake, a senior analyst at EY’s Global Consumer group at the time​.

“One crucial area where they need to innovate is to make sure their brand is going to be something that consumers are able to enjoy an experience around as well as enjoy the product itself.”

Danone said it is 'excited' to see how the campaign performs for Actimel and how the audience reacts to the brand. Image source: Danone UK&I

As to whether Danone sees big potential in metaverse marketing, Wright said the company is ‘excited’ to see how this campaign performs for Actimel and how the audience reacts to the brand – and the immunity benefits in-game. “We’re always keen to find ways to be where our consumers are, and show up with relevance in those channels, including those that are more immersive.”

The marketing lead continued: “It’s a first of its kind for Actimel in raising awareness of the brand with a different audience…[it’s] something of a test and learn to see how it navigates the metaverse world moving forwards.”

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