Using the great vehicle that is Blizzard's Overwatch League, Jack in the Box is diving bobblehead-first into esports. And what better way to ingratiate yourself than by moving right on in with a pro team?
"Fuel House," an animated web series created by David&Goliath, is a tongue-in-cheek play on Full House that sees brand mascot Jack cheerfully invading the home and training space of Dallas Fuel, which is Team Envy's official Overwatch League esports team.
Here's the theme song, which gives off a nice Adult Swim vibe.
Five episodes have been released in the six-part series. They appear on GameSpot, Reddit and Xbox platforms, among others, as sponsored content. Each episode, less than two minutes long, features the Dallas Fuel characters in a manner more pop-culturey than esports content often tends to feel.
"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," says agency chief creative officer Bobby Pearce.
"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."
It's true—fans dig it. The work is memeable, doesn't take itself too seriously, lets beloved player quirks take the lead, and lets Jack be just as annoying as you pretty much expect him to be.
All eps thus far appear below.
In "Stretched," OGE (Korean tank player Minseok Son) discovers that the neck of his jersey is all stretched out, yielding an off-shoulder look that French support uNKOE (Benjamin Chevasson) unsurprisingly finds quite sassy.
Who knew Jack wanted to be Korean so badly? We all learned something today.
"Cosplay, Baby!" sees the guys prepping for a match (shout-out to the curly fries and shake in the frame!), only to be rudely interrupted by Jack, cosplaying it up in a highly volatile mech suit. We're starting to catch a theme: Jack's using his time with Dallas Fuel to exercise some sort of identity crisis.
"Jack Bot" sees uNKOE deal with a secret admirer.
There's a civil rights battle in every generation, and we sometimes wonder whose equality fight will demarcate our old age. I'd put my money on the right for sentient machines to love without this kind of violence. What are we if not sentient machines ourselves?
(This is not a joke. I'm serious. On the other hand, as long as robots aren't seen as people, you can't file restraining orders against them, so a player does what a player must.)
On to episode four, "Positive Effect," In which Jack convinces streamer Effect (Hyeon Hwang) to take a day off. It's nothing like Ferris Bueller, so don't wonder that.
And in "Fuel Fest," Jack proposes a Fyre Fest-caliber team party on an island shaped like his face. Although to be fair, the orgiastic availability of curly fries would easily blow Fyre Fest out of the water.
Expect to catch the last episode on Sunday, May 26. We dig the short length, the self-consciously corny vibe (take notes, Fuller House) and the flagrant understanding that the only way this can work is if the sponsor, personified, feels just as invasive in a team dynamic as an ad does in the middle of your content.
When a brand gets that, you can laugh with it. That's a big deal.
In related news, Geico did the whole "invasive unwanted extra" bit in 2016, also in a web series, featuring North American esports Team SoloMid. Except it wasn't a gecko they had to contend with; it was a nosy neighbor. That doesn't take away from how good "Fuel House" is; Geico/TSM's work was a hair too early to profit from its efforts, and muddier in its execution.
"Fuel House" launched during an interactive fan experience with Dallas Fuel from April 26-27, the first Overwatch League stage held outside its Burbank, California, home base.
"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," says CEO and founder Mike Rufail 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."
Agency: David&Goliath, LA
Founder & Chairman: David Angelo
Chief Creative Officer: Bobby Pearce
Executive Creative Director: Steve Yee
CD / Art Director: Sheldon Melvin
CD / Copywriter: Matt Kappler
Art Director: Anna Andreen
Copywriter: Eddie Klein
Account Director: Richard Henderson
Account Supervisor: Petra Pinsani
Senior Strategist: Janet Shih
Senior Project Manager: Amy Chiang
Director of Broadcast Production: Paul Albanese
Agency Executive Producer: Kara Pierce
Agency Senior Producer: Jane Krull
Executive Creative Director: Terry Lee
Creative Director: Dane Macbeth
Executive Producer: Josh Libitsky
Head of Production: Liz Catullo
Director of Business Development: Anne Pendola
Producer: Addie Stevenson
Animation Director: Jake Portman
Designers: Roger LA
Animators: Roger LA
Storyboard Artists: Roger LA