For the second year in a row, Jack in the Box maintains its presence in the rapidly growing esports industry as the primary sponsor of Dallas Fuel, Team Envy’s official Overwatch League esports team.
To leverage the burger chain’s position as a sponsor and provide fans with behind-the-scenes access to their favorite players, David&Goliath created “Fuel House,” a six-part animated web series. Each episode features specific themes related to the Dallas Fuel team, gaming and pop culture, that provide layers of relatability and entertainment. For example, one episode sees the players plan an overly ambitious festival on a remote island doomed for failure, another sees them discussing their movie-like superpower ability, while a third features a robot that rises up against its human creators, reminiscent of the omnic crisis from Overwatch. Knowing the one thing that esports fans want most is access to pro players, their heroes, David&Goliath made the first four episodes center around a specific players from Dallas Fuel.
New episodes drop each Sunday on multiple digital and social platforms like Gamespot, Reddit and XBOX.
It was also timed to coincide with a major event hosted by Dallas Fuel on April 26-27. This event was the first Overwatch League stage held outside of its traditional home in Burbank, California. Jack in the Box brought Fuel House to the event with an interactive experience for fans.
“We know the esports audience isn’t watching TV commercials, we know they expect to be entertained and we know they are proud of the space the esports community has created,” said Bobby Pearce, CCO of D&G. “We worked extensively with Dallas Fuel players to understand their personalities, demeanors, likes and dislikes so we could play that back to the fans. This campaign demonstrates a deep understanding of the audience, and positions Jack in the Box as an esports fan-favorite.”
The integrated campaign includes digital and experiential, social and .com, endemic and non-endemic elements to create a season-long program that meets millennial gaming fans where they are.
“The Fuel House campaign, created with our sponsors, Jack in the Box and their ad agency David&Goliath, sets a new high-water mark for non-endemic esports campaigns," said Mike Rufail, founder and CEO of Dallas Fuel and Envy Gaming. “We’re thrilled that our players are the stars of the show, and that our fans enjoy it more than anyone.”
Tell us about your role in the creation of this work.
We created the concept of “Fuel House” and wrote, casted, and creative directed all six episodes. We also had some amazing production partners in Roger (animation) and Margarita Mix, as well as Beacon Street Studios, who composed our original music. And of course we worked with Jack in the Box and the Dallas Fuel on every aspect to ensure the best possible product.
Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about?
For the last few years, Jack in the Box has been the lead sponsor of Envy Gaming, which owns and operates Dallas Fuel. Past campaigns have focused on celebrating the partnership with targeted efforts around specific events. But this year, Jack in the Box wanted to create a more long-form piece of content that could last for several weeks.
Rather than just feeding fans information about the athletes in candid, behind-the-scenes, or interview-style videos, we wanted to create a unique entertainment experience tailored specifically to this audience. And in the process, align Jack in the Box with the rapidly growing gaming culture.
“Fuel House” tells the story of four Dallas Fuel players living together [as they do in real life], and shows the hijinks that ensue when their biggest fan-slash-corporate sponsor moves in with them.
The Dallas Fuel were fantastic partners in development; and the final product is loaded with little-known personal facts about each of the pro gamers. And with each of our six episodes running under two minutes, “Fuel House” is a quick, fun, and innovative way for fans to feel even closer to their favorite pro athletes.
While “Fuel House” is primarily rooted in esports culture and the Dallas Fuel, we also worked to connect the episodes with significant moments in popular culture.
Tell us about the details creative brief, what did it ask?
Our approach to the sponsorship has always centered around using our status as a corporate sponsor to provide fans with something they really want: more access to the players. This year, Jack in the Box wanted to make something that not only gave fans access but created a conceptual red thread that could last throughout the the season.
Which insight led to the creation of this piece of work?
“Fuel House” came from a pretty simple idea that in order to give fans what they want, Jack in the Box couldn’t just be the corporate sponsor, we had to be fans as well. The concept that grew from this was a sitcom-style content series that explored superfan Jack moving in with the Dallas Fuel, to further his fandom and learn about them in a way that provided ample opportunity for showing off facts, interests, and insider information about the guys.
What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during development.
With so many moving pieces to this project—music, animation, casting, audio recording, audio mixing, and also delivering six 90-second episodes—multitasking was a bit of a challenge at the beginning. But after a few weeks, and shipping a couple of spots, we were able to establish workflows with our producing partners; and the “Fuel House” team really hit its stride.
What did you enjoy most about seeing this campaign through? Did you learn anything new from the experience?
The best part of “Fuel House” has definitely been seeing the way fans have responded to it.
The first piece of content we released was the full intro song and video, and the next morning, we were flooded with fan art and loads of positive chatter.
The Dallas Fuel fans really are terrific supporters of their team, and seeing them embrace this campaign was a great feeling for us because ultimately we always want to be creating value in an authentic way. So seeing them pick up on little Easter eggs and details that only Dallas Fuel fans would know was definitely a sign that we were doing the right thing.
Our team traveled to Dallas for the Fuel’s first “Homestand Weekend,” where we also had an on-site activation, and even played some episodes on the Jumbotron. It was incredible to overhear fans quoting lines of dialogue, reciting the theme song, and asking players about little personal facts we slipped into each episode.
As far as learnings go, it’s been eye-opening to see how large and passionate the esports fanbase is. Moving forward, we now have a much better idea of esports’ foothold in the current landscape of entertainment—and how it will continue to grow in the future.
Where do you see this campaign going in the future?
Hopefully into syndication.
But right now, we’re just starting to talk about the possibility of making a Season 2.