Marketing through the Amazon-owned platform often takes a familiar form that’s agreed upon by all parties. From sponsored streams playing certain titles to content creators featuring various logos and promotion on the broadcast itself. There are plenty of campaigns that come and go without being all too intrusive.
Burger King has come under fire for crossing this line. Rather than gaining the permission of popular personalities, they pushed forward with a controversial marketing scheme. They created new Twitch accounts in order to sneakily donate with one clear intention. These donations would come with messages that promote the latest deals across America.
From popular variety streamers to competitive veterans, Burger King targeted some of the biggest streams. Naturally, it didn’t take long before most caught on and fired back at the fast-food franchise.
Marketing agency ‘Ogilvy’ sought out to create a unique method of advertising on Twitch. The client was Burger King and the company decided that using donations was the best way to get the brand across. “Burger King turned Twitch’s donation feature into a marketing campaign,” an August 19 tweet explained.
Without contacting streamers directly, the marketing team donated exact amounts of Burger King’s “best offers.” These donations would then appear on stream with messages that outlined certain deals that viewers can get for small amounts, be it $5 or less.
“I donated five bucks so I can say that on the Burger King app you can get a whopper and a small french fries for five dollars,” one donation included. This instance was directed at Call of Duty veteran and mega-popular Warzone streamer Tyler ‘TeePee’ Polchow. “Listen… are you going to sponsor me or not?” TeePee responded in the moment.
Just a random dono. Think they did it a couple more times and then I stopped it from happening because it was weird
— Tyler Polchow (@TylerTeeP) August 19, 2020
It turns out that there was no collaboration between the parties whatsoever. “Just a random dono,” he replied in the August 19 thread. “They did it a couple more times and then I stopped it from happening because it was weird.”
Plenty of Twitch streamers soon followed up, frustrated by their inclusion in the marketing campaign without consenting. Faces were blurred, voices were modified, and no callouts were provided to outline the streamers in focus.
“I really despise when companies take advantage of my live content in order to push their ads,” AnneMunition said.
The marketing agency made no effort to “clear it” with popular streamers ahead of time. Nor did they offer what “should be paid for the marketing.” An amount that is certainly “more than $5,” she added.
I really despise when companies take advantage of my live content in order to push their ads without clearing it with me first or offering what I should be paid for the marketing, which is more than $5 I’m pretty sure.
I encourage other companies not to be like this one.
— Anne Munition (@AnneMunition) August 19, 2020
Plenty of others chimed in to label the campaign as “predatory” and “scummy” from the agency. Though the video promoting this activation is still yet to be altered or removed, and no response has been provided from those behind the marketing.
While the agency likely thought their method was wholly unique, this isn’t actually the first instance on Twitch. Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel was once baited by a mobile game developer as they paid to autoplay their trailer in the midst of a January broadcast.