Burger King ties NBA 2K21 trick shot challenge to real-world rewards

Dive Brief:

  • Burger King Spain is enticing NBA 2K21 players with the promise of free food if they can complete tough shots in the pro basketball video game on PlayStation consoles, according to details emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • The burger chain used in-game editing tools to create a custom court, called The Menu Court, that features several of its most popular menu items. Players who complete a shot from an item marker can post a video to Twitter tagging Burger King and NBA2K with the hashtag #BKMenuCourt to redeem the real-world equivalent of the product.
  • Burger King partnered with Spanish content creators RobertPG and Papigavi o Vituber to promote the effort on Twitch and YouTube. Agency David Madrid helped design the campaign that taps into skyrocketing consumer interest in gaming and streaming.

Dive Insight:

Burger King is targeting the gamer cohort through an immersive virtual experience that links back to real-world rewards. By embedding The Menu Court in NBA 2K21, the brand has a chance to engage consumers who are spending massive amounts of time playing on consoles while cooped up at home during the pandemic. The stunt’s combination of interactivity and menu incentives might appeal to an otherwise choosey, ad-averse consumer group.

The campaign does require some additional steps from participants. Those interested must download the MyLeague Mode of NBA 2K21 on the PlayStation 4 or the MyNBA Mode available on the PlayStation 5 iteration of the annual sports franchise. From there, fans can search “BK_TheMenuCourt” to download the custom arena decked out in Burger King branding and menu offerings.

Tougher shots coordinate to bigger rewards on “The Menu Court.” Winning a free sandwich is relatively straightforward while scoring a full meal with fries and a soda requires completing a shot from the middle of the court.The promotion, which launched Thursday, will be live through April 4 on PS4 and PS5.

The concept stands as an example of how brands are thinking beyond advertising in their outreach to gamers, who often don’t want playtime interrupted. In-game ad placements have grown increasingly common, particularly in sports franchises where fans are accustomed to seeing sponsorships on the playing field in real life. But letting players participate in the action could be a more powerful way to drive engagement and drum up chatter on social media.

Movie studios have turned to multiplayer games like Fortnite to premiere trailers or screen exclusive footage for upcoming releases, seeking to reach young consumers who are watching linear TV less frequently. Virtual product drops have similarly gained traction as companies try to translate online buzz to real-world products.

Burger King has ramped up video game integrations in recent years. In 2019, it sponsored an obscure soccer club called Stevenage, tying the deal into a series of virtual challenges players could complete in FIFA 2020 in order to win free food.

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