New knowledge partnership between Warc and The Marketing Society

Going into 2023, many brands will continue to experiment with emerging technologies such as AI, AR, NFTs etc. In contrast to this, gaming, which is as old as time, has still been underutilised in the South African marketing space with most brands only experimenting with incentivised engagement drives or simple gamified promotions.

Gamification and marketing can be a match made in heaven, if you play your cards right says Charné Munien, strategy director at VMLY&R

The reality is the gaming opportunity for brands is a lot more sizeable and mature than we think. After running some focus groups with some of South Africa’s top gamers, we’ve uncovered some useful tips for brands wanting to expand their presence into the elusive world of gaming.

Tapping into the sub-Saharan gaming market

Despite challenging economic times, the gaming market in sub-Saharan Africa is still experiencing exponential growth and this can be linked to the post-pandemic need for connection, escapism and relaxation.

Respondents expressed that “because the games feel so real, it allows you to live a reality that you may not be able to access IRL (in real life)”.

Further psychological benefits that have attracted the estimated 24 million sub-Saharan gamers include the emotional outlet for anger, frustration and stress, as well as the confidence and a sense of achievement from conquering impossible odds.

Tapping into this evolving, growing tech fuelled alternate reality could be one of the more effective ways to capture the hearts and mental availability of GenZ.

3 ways brands can get involved

So how can brands get involved in 2023?

  1. Be there for a long time, not just a good time
  2. Disrupt but don’t interrupt
  3. Speak to the gamer, not the game

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We can expect more brands to start tapping into this space in 2023, as the youth market gains access to increasing spending power. If brands can strike the balance between authenticity and scale in the gaming space, the possibilities will become limitless. Game on!