Post Thumb

Legion from Lenovo and Loco in collaboration with Dice Media has tapped the growing audience and fan base of gaming in India by launching web-series Clutch. It showcases an underdog team of e-sports enthusiasts who compete in a massive tournament.

The brands have organically augmented the storyline by integrating it with their latest Legion products and e-sports broadcasting features respectively.

Lenovo has in fact invested the majority of its marketing budget allocated for this year towards the series and expects to deepen its connection with the community through this initiative.

Amit Doshi

Amit Doshi, Chief Marketing Officer, Lenovo India, told BuzzInContent that its research suggests that a majority of gamers are difficult to reach through traditional advertising media or paid ads.

“Organic association with a high quality web-series like Clutch provides us the opportunity to reach gamers in an interesting and yet, non-intrusive way,” he said.

Lenovo has revolutionized the gaming industry with its Legion range of gaming devices, and according to him, has rapidly risen to become the number 1 PC gaming brand in India. It also has worked hard to establish e-sports in India, with its gaming tournaments such as Legion of Champions and Rise of Legion.

The Clutch collaboration is another innovative effort from its side to give a voice to gamers and e-sports enthusiasts in India.

Doshi said that Legion is a brand of the gamers, by the gamers, and for the gamers.

Dice Media has conceptualised Clutch based on its learning from Loco, that the gaming audience and e-sports in the country is on the rise and there is a growing space which can be explored.

Vishwanath Shetty

“This world is a new content space never done by anyone and never experienced by any audience. We floated this IP in the market for close to three-four months and waited till we found the right partner who could see value in this. With Clutch, we explored the untapped growing e-sports phenomenon for the first time.” said Vishwanath Shetty, Vice President of Sales and Brand Solutions, Pocket Aces.

There are a total of five episodes. The series has so far garnered 12M+ views across four episodes. While the episodes are going live on YouTube, the promotion of these episodes is live on Dice Media Facebook, Instagram pages.

“A simple scroll through the YouTube and social media profile makes the response evident. The community has absolutely loved the series. It’s a story of e-sports aspirants, which has been long overdue,” said Doshi.


While Dice Media had come up with the idea to build India’s first e-sports web series before the pandemic, Lenovo’s media agency Publicis was quick to spot it.

“It took us just a few days to finalize, once we heard the concept. We’ve admired Dice Media’s work from a distance and the fact that they were producing it, just made it a super-easy decision,” he said.

Shetty further explained, “Before the pandemic only we had come up with the idea of the series, as we knew gaming and e-sports were going to be huge in coming years. We started approaching a lot of brands and we narrowed down the direction. But given that gaming majorly is a trend among Gen Z and young millennials, a lot of CMOs needed the education. We approached other smartphone brands too but they didn’t have enough funds. Lenovo was very clear that they wanted to reach out to the gaming audience which has been untapped so far. Their Legion laptops are particularly targeted to this audience, and with Clutch they found the perfect vehicle to reach out to this audience. Through this, we are reaching out to the gaming audience and telling them about both the laptop and the e-streaming app Loco.”

In general, Dice Media for a web-series usually take up three sponsorships- title, powered by and associate sponsor with INR 2 crore, 1 crore and 60 lakhs respectively. However with Clutch being cost heavy, it scouted for only the title sponsors. Eventually, both Lenovo and Loco took up the title sponsorship for 2.5 crore each. In fact Zomato has also done some passive placement in between the series.

Legion is looking at the reach, the views and the engagement and will also assess its impact on the brand through the series in terms of the ROI. Doshi believes that these days, a simple brand lift exercise can help a marketer evaluate the incremental impact on key brand image parameters.

The brand hopes to keep pushing its envelope and experiment with branded content for it to make special appearances in news and in surprising ways.

Doshi, however, added that while branded content can be a great way to reach media-dark audiences who have opted out of ads or are exposed to little advertising, paid video advertising, on the other hand, is still the most effective form of brand communication in places where one can reach a large percentage of the target audience.

“We will continue to have a balanced mix of investments between paid advertising and branded content,” he added.

In terms of growing importance of branded content in the gaming space for awareness and education, Shetty said that some brands, especially in the related category of handsets, are keen to take the first mover advantage. However, a lot of education is still needed.

On Loco, it has sold out another gaming related branded content for Gillette.

He said that brands are increasing their ad spends on branded content for gaming but not significantly.

“Branded content is always important for creating awareness and engagement for any brand. Gaming community is small but ever-growing! The more people see the value gaming can create in the lives of individuals, it will help this grow further,” he added.

Summing up his experience with Dice Media, Doshi added that context and the marketing task trump everything else. If a marketer is clear on both, the choice of advertising formats and media becomes easier. Therefore, marketers must not ask ‘why or why not branded content’ but ‘which marketing problem does it solve’.