Grooming brand Gillette has joined forces with The Yard: HBCU Esports Alliance, a diversity initiative for historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), and CSL Esports, a programme that creates opportunities for schools through esports.
The initiative, dubbed ‘Groomed to Game’, will feature the brand’s SkinGuard razors and chances to win prizes and scholarships. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
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Students from HEA member schools will play EA SPORTS Madden NFL 21 during the league season which begins in February 2020. Specific prizes were not disclosed, although the grooming brand will focus its efforts on promoting the SkinGuard razors which are designed for men who are more prone to razor bumps.
Rod Chappell, General Manager and Associate Commissioner of HEA and CEO of HBCU Direct commented: “HBCU students are playing video games daily but are not a part of the broader esports and gaming ecosystems. Gillette’s partnership will provide support to help educate them on how to engage and advance in many aspects. As they learn to stream and broadcast, Gillette will also help them feel confident by being well-groomed on camera.”
Student matchups played inside Madden’s ‘The Yard’ mode will feature a ‘Gillette Style Zone’ which allows gamers to customise their avatar’s facial hair and hairstyle in the game.
Greg Via, Vice President of Sports and Esports at Gillette added: “Our partnership with HEA will allow Gillette to support the nation’s HBCUs and help provide access to the esports ecosystem that hasn’t existed previously. Gillette is dedicated to helping men look and feel their best and with the ‘Groomed to Game’ initiative we aim to help HBCU students feel prepared to bring their ‘A’ game each and every day.”
The HBCU Esports Alliance (HEA) is a diversity and inclusion initiative designed to significantly increase the participation of HBCU students, alumni and fans in the gaming and esports industries. Initiatives include player development, education, studio design, entrepreneurship skills, content development, game design, and more.
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In addition to supporting HEA league competition, Gillette will support the HEA and CSL as they work closely with HBCUs to provide students education about the esports and gaming industry, along with access to opportunities within it.
Esports Insider says: Gillette is one of the earliest non-endemic brands to invest in the esports industry. The company’s partnership with historically black schools shows a commitment to improving the ecosystem rather than benefit from a single campaign. It will be interesting to see how this alliance plays out.