Learning from "The King of Stream" Campaign

Brands like Burger King are hungry to capture Twitch’s growing, global reach by any means necessary. However, they don’t always win in the quest for one of the most valuable audiences online.

On Aug. 18, Ogilvy, one of the largest ad agencies worldwide, shared a video on Twitter from their DAVID Madrid team titled “The King of Stream.” The agency used Twitch’s donation feature to advertise Burger King’s $5 value meal on various live streams. When a user donates money to a Twitch streamer, they can add a message to be read aloud. The team then used reactions from streamers to create the video explaining the campaign.

What started as a “fun-spirited experiment” that was initially enjoyed by players was met with criticism once the video dropped. Many streamers pointed out that the cost of sponsoring content creators is “a lot more than $5” and viewed this move as a way to avoid paying streamers properly for sponsored content.

Ross O’Donovan has been one of the most outspoken streamers involved. In another livestream uploaded to his YouTube channel, he and his audience dug into the ethics of the campaign together. They discovered that using the donations to advertise possibly broke Federal Trade Commission (FTC)  guidelines and Twitch’s Terms of Service. O’Donovan stated that the FTC should get involved and that DAVID Madrid “should be held accountable… this should be a case study for marketing students in the future.”

Intended as a clever move to reach gamers directly, “The King of Stream” has led to a wide-reaching discussion about advertising ethics. Twitch as a whole appears highly supportive of influencer marketing and brand sponsorships — it’s up to brands to show support back.

What do you think of this campaign and the feedback? Is it a case study for TXADPR students on unethical practices, or simply a bold experiment in online marketing? Let us know on one of our social pages @TXADPR!

Alex Pinnell