Gillette’s Brand Manager and Bjergsen: Q&A on the Team SoloMid partnership

Back in September 2017, Gillette added Team SoloMid to its portfolio of esports partners. This year, Gillette and TSM took another step in their partnership with a Twitch bits promotion.

We had a chance to chat with Emiliano Zamperoni, Global Brand Manager for Gillette and TSM mid laner Søren”Bjergsen” Bjerg about the partnership, the TSM community and the work Gillette is doing to engage fans.

Gillette event
TSM LoL team at Gillette event

Esports Insider: This partnership is a first for Twitch, can you talk us through how it came about?

Emiliano Zamperoni: Since our early entry into the world of esports, we’ve been partnering with Twitch by co-designing most of our marketing plans to help best support the esports community in a way that not only comes across as authentic to fans but also encourages them to become fans of Gillette and our products in the process.

It’s this close partnership with Twitch since the beginning that led us to jointly come up with this first-of-its-kind Bits promotion, which was born out of a desire to offer something truly exclusive to esports fans. They can watch a livestream from the best players, buy the best razors, and get 250 free Bits – all just in a few clicks. While this may sound simple, it took 6 months of working closely with Twitch to create the final integrated user experience that you see today.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet each of the players on the team and I’ve been so impressed by their passion for what they do and their maturity.”

ESI: TSM has one of the most vocal followings in esports, is this what makes the team such a good partner for such an event?

Emiliano: When we chose TSM, we didn’t just look at their success in LoL or at their geographical reach – though, those were important factors as well. But, what stood out the most is what the team represents in the world of esports, the way the players so authentically reflect our brand’s values, and how they’re such great role models to younger guys in their paths towards progress. I’ve had the opportunity to meet each of the players on the team and I’ve been so impressed by their passion for what they do and their maturity.

It was also great to see the reactions from the #TheBestTSMCanGetContest winners when TSM surprised them after we flew them all out to Boston. It really says a lot about how strong the connection is between fans and players in esports, and with TSM, it’s especially exciting to bring exclusive access and opportunities to some of the most enthusiastic and deserving fans in the space.

ESI: Twitch and esports have a large youth audience, does this offer Gillette a unique way to reach that audience?

Emiliano: Absolutely. Gillette’s purpose is to groom the next generation of men and a rapidly growing number of young men today are following esports – especially on Twitch.

We are constantly experimenting and learning in this space, relying on our partners to help us have the right impact with this audience. This promotion is an example of that.

ESI: Gillette is known around traditional sports, how appealing is esports to Gillette as a commercial partner and can we expect anything else inside esports after this promotion?

Emiliano: For more than a century, Gillette has worked with leading professional sports leagues and athletes. So, as one of the largest and fastest growing leagues globally, it’s been very natural for us to enter and partner within the esports community and bring TSM into our roster of all-star athletes globally.

From here, you can definitely expect us to continue our support of the league, these players, and their dedicated, passionate fans – you’ll be among the first to know when we’re ready to announce the next chapter.

ESI: How different is it for Gillette to approach esports and its audience as opposed to traditional sports? What changes do you have to make to cater to a more digitally savvy audience?

Emiliano: Gillette is proud of our heritage in sports, and our presence in esports and partnerships with TSM and Twitch are a direct extension of that.

With the players, we approach them and treat them as we would any of our all-star athletes, just like Neymar – the press conference we held this past December unveiling their new roster publicly for the first time is a great example of that. With the fans, this digital-wise audience means we’re focusing the vast majority of our efforts on social media with the fans at the centre of it all – more so than we have with other sports partnerships. We know these fans live and breathe online, and so we’ve made it our priority to be where they are – such as with this promotion on Twitch – providing them with the best content, best access, and best products.

ESI: Do you have any final thoughts regarding this announcement and the future of Gillette in esports?

Emiliano Zamperoni: Looking ahead, we look forward to further expanding upon such partnerships in this ever-growing space. And, given fans are the reason why esports is what it is, we are also committed to continuing to make fans the centre of all that we do.

“I was worried that they might be harsh or judgmental because I replaced such an important figure in the team but they met me with open arms and love.”

ESI: Bjergsen, as a TSM player, how does it feel having such a massive global brand support your hard work?

Søren”Bjergsen” Bjerg: It feels awesome obviously, brands like Gillette are so supportive of our team along the way and help us show our appreciation for fans even more. When I first joined TSM I was instantly met with thousands of new fans on social media and my stream. I was worried that they might be harsh or judgmental because I replaced such an important figure in the team but they met me with open arms and love.

Now the biggest thing I appreciate playing with TSM is how focused they are on allowing me to perform at my best, how they respect my time and opinion and try to give me the best environment to be constantly improving.

ESI: TSM is a big team within the community and their fans are super vocal within the region, how important are these promotions in giving back some of the love back to fans?

Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg: I love meeting fans like we did during this event. Most of our interactions with fans are over social media or streams, but there’s nothing like meeting the people supporting you up close and actually having time to talk to them.

Of course, it’s not possible to build a close relationship with every fan but I’m happy that we get to do it with some, and I hope they enjoyed the experience too!