Colonel KI
The first colonel to conquer esports in China
Advertiser: KFC (Yum China)
Agency: Mindshare China
Market: China
KFC had made the gamer community a core pillar of its communications in China since 2015. However, four years on, mainstream brands all had gaming sponsorships in place. KFC needed to move beyond pure sponsorships to build deeper engagement with gamers.
Non-endemic brand KFC engaged young Chinese target audience by creating an AI commentator that predicted outcomes of League of Legends tournaments in China.
How it works
Find the right partner
KFC partnered with PentaQ to create an algorithm – in the guise of Colonel KI – that combined realtime match data with historical statistics to predict the outcome of a match.
Apply AI/ML analytics
A graph at the bottom of the screen showed real-time win rates (indicating the team likely to win) that changed dynamically as the game progressed.
Integrate branded app
Fans could log into the KFC app to track predictions throughout the match
Connect with sales
At peak moments, Colonel KI distributed KFC coupons to fans, inviting the audience to order KFC online and enjoy fried chicken during the game.
In-game activation
The predictions were presented on the bottom of screens at the beginning of each match and during breaks.
Analytics studio activations
Robot figure of the colonel was playing an AI analytic sharing his predictions in Chinese analytic studios
KFC app integration
Fans could also download the KFC app.
Promo integration
During the most exciting match moments, Colonel KI would distribute QR coupons for KFC menu items.
Video case study
Results generated impact on both brand metrics & sales.
KFC gained 70 minutes of brand exposure per day, bringing the brand to over 203 million (peak number of viewers) viewers of the League of Legends livestreams.
35 million
Topic views on Weibo
1.9 million
On-screen comments
100% coupons
Of Colonel KI's coupons being taken.
25% coupons
Were redeemed (2,500% above the benchmark).
On Weibo, KFC topic views reached 35 million organically – 2x more than the most viewed Weibo topic from 2018's FIFA World Cup brand sponsors. This achievement is significant in a market like China where Weibo's top topics tend to be dominated by celebrity news. No other League of Legends sponsor scored a trending topic on Weibo.
Lynn Zhang, director
Jetty Zhu, manager
Clare Zhang, director
Bolin Wang, MD
Carey Wang, GM
Yi Liu, partner
Stanley Tao, partner
Erika Lin, director
Kathy Ren, manager
Jessia Zhu, supervisor
Phil So, head of BD, Riot Games
Yue Wang, head of BD, Tencent IEG
Xi Qing, CEO, PentaQ
The Esports Ads takeaways
Be esports relevant
There's a big difference between traditional in-game branding & data-driven content for the fans. Customers appreciate brands that are esports first.
Add tangible value
Fans prefer more esports than brand related content. In order to stand out from the mainstream brands generate esports value to the fans - new data, experience, prizes.
Use technologies
AI, Big Data, blockchain, robotics - all these technologies fueled by thousands of startups could provide ready-to-go solution for your MarTech esports activations.
Additional media materials