The Devil Wears ‘Assassins Creed’
Do you remember the days when adult gamers were politely ignored by the corporate world as a whole?
“Back in the day”, grown adults who played games in their basements were cautionary tales. They were portrayed as unlovable losers in movies, and absolutely nothing was marketed at them.
Fast forward 20 years and gaming has inched its way into the mainstream.
Esports tournaments attracts billions in marketing dollars, and gaming athletes have become mainstream celebrities.
This year will be the first Halloween that most of my friends will be staying inside rather than coming out clubbing. This is because ‘League of Legends’ is streaming its championship on the same night.
Because companies love money and will market to whoever has a pulse, Reebok has a new campaign on the way that specifically targets the newest favourite audience of marketing executives everywhere..
Out of the basement and into the spotlight, gamers are single, have disposable income, and are there for the hoodwinking.
Reebok is teaming up with Ubisoft to make a Viking-themed shoe in partnership with the upcoming game, ‘Assassins Creed: Valhalla.’
Joy of joys.
A Shoe for the Modern Gamer
We don’t know yet what the shoe will look like, but we do know that it’s themed on the Viking aesthetic of the new Assassins Creed game.
What was once a game centred on stealth and tactical decision making, is now focused on fierce combat and open world exploration.
While playing the game, you’ll be as a hearty Viking who wears animal-hide boots while braving the winter snow.
As a gamer, will you be wearing a $100-$200 pair of Reebok shoes as you brave whatever half-rendered crap Ubisoft pumped out this time?
So who’s going to buy into such an expensive and unusual campaign?
Targeting a Sucker
When I see products such as crappy energy drinks and chewing gum marketed at gamers, it computes with my worldview. I understand why they exist.
Not too long ago, Razer (a gaming hardware company), teamed up with Mars to make an energy-boosting chewing gum aimed at gamers called ‘Respawn.’
Aside from the groan-inducing hacky name that was clearly dreamed up by a boardroom of suits who’ve never played a game in their lives, the campaign wasn’t a bad idea.
Many gamers chew a lot of gum, so who says they wouldn’t switch over to Wrigley’s gum (Mars bought Wrigley in 2008) if a gamer-specific option suddenly came along.
The reasoning behind the shameless corporate cash-grab made sense to me.
But how many gamers out there are really in the market for a new pair of Reebok shoes?
The Scotty Pippin to Nike’s Michael Jordan, Reebok is the choice of Mum’s everywhere who need the perfect shoe to wear to and from yoga class.
Every gamer I know wears shoes that are reasonably priced and don’t hurt. They aren’t worrying themselves with how they’ll perform at the gym.
I know, I’m painting gamers with a really broad brush. I’m sure many gamers out there are pumping weights at the gym around their League of Legends viewing parties.
But are even these gamers going to be compelled to spend extra money on a themed shoe?
Your shoes are the one piece of clothing you own that gets scuffed beyond recognition within months of buying them.
If you’re a streamer, your shoes are sitting in the visual ‘dead zone’ of space below the desk that your fans can’t even see.
Will you really feel justified in spending money on a shoe based on the 22nd instalment in a long-worn out game series? Probably not.
Regardless, These Shoes Will Make Money
The audience is out there, and I know exactly who they are.
Like with many other pointless products, I think these shoes were created for the very well meaning parents and grandparents out there who are just looking for the perfect gift.
The parent in question is the one who strikes out every year, and really needs to nail your birthday or Christmas gift this year. They know you love games, and they know you hate shopping for clothes.
Suddenly, out of the blue, Ubisoft/Reebok shows up in their nearby Kmart and offer the perfect solution. It’s the shoe that “all gamers are craving.”
The lightbulb goes off in their head. For just the price of somewhere between $100 and $200, they have the perfect gift for their little gamer this year.
I’m confident that this holiday season, billions of well-meaning dollars will be spent in the acquisition of millions of eye-rolls and forced smiles.
Mum will get a hug from someone that will wear the shoes for the next year, slowly scuffing it until it doesn’t at all resemble the game it was designed to emulate.
Your friends will see them and ask,
“What’s that shoe? Is it Nike?”
“Nah” you’ll respond.
“It’s this other brand, I think they’re themed on a game. Minecraft I think. Mum bought them for me.”
“Aahh” they’ll respond, half listening.
“Hey man, you got any gum?”