Burger King has sparked criticism for running an ad campaign that hijacked a fan messaging bot on Twitch and turned it into a cheap ad platform to reach gamers.
A bot on Twitch reads out messages from fans during a stream. In exchange for a small donation, fans can ask their favourite streamers questions or comment on how they're playing.
Burger King, though, has been using it to advertise its latest offers, getting exposure that would have cost thousands of pounds for as little as £2.50.
New York ad agency Ogilvy sent donations of $5 or less to streamers that use a text-to-speech bot to deliver viewer messages.
While this setup is usually used by gamers who want to deliver a personal message for a small fee, the agency used it to promote various Burger King offers, with the slogans automatically read out over the livestream.
The agency compiled a video of various streamer reactions and shared via Twitter.
Each streamer displays confusion or frustration, with one stating: "Listen, are you gonna sponsor me or not?" The streamers do later thank Burger King for the $5 donations.
Title: The King of Stream
Client: Burger King
Burger King turned Twitch's donation feature into a marketing campaign.
— Ogilvy (@Ogilvy) August 18, 2020
However, many big name streamers were unhappy with the stunt, accusing the fast food chain of being "scummy" and exploitative.
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
This is exceptionally low class.
Taking advantage of a system meant to support these streamers, utilizing it for big-name companies that could easily afford to do it properly and then bragging about it?
Predatory marketing. Cool.
— Cohh Carnage (@CohhCarnage) August 19, 2020
This is really bad though? Instead of reaching out to a streamer to work with the brand, an ad is just SLAPPED on the stream without seeing if they even want to work with the brand. Isn’t it a pretty standard rule for no self advertising? 🤣 what the heck man.
— Ms5000Watts (@Ms5000Watts) August 20, 2020