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KFC+x+Diablo+PR+Hero.jpg Photo courtesy of KFC
KFC's latest promotion is tied to the Diablo IV launch.

Why Chipotle and KFC are targeting gamers for their latest promotions

Chipotle is the official launch partner of Street Fighter 6, while KFC announced a campaign with Diablo IV. Both releases have big expectations.

School’s out for summer, and that likely means gaming activity will pick up. Two major restaurant chains are timing new promotions accordingly.

Chipotle is an official launch partner of Street Fighter 6, available starting today. Players can earn “Fighter Coins” (in-game currency), when they place a digital order on Chipotle’s app, website or Rewards Exchange program.

With every qualifying order placed, players will receive a code for 250 Fighter Coins while supplies last, allowing them to purchase characters, outfits, alternative colors, stages, stamps, avatar emotes and avatar gear in the Street Fighter 6 in-game shop. Chipotle Rewards members can also redeem 250 points in the Chipotle Rewards Exchange to receive an additional code for 250 Fighter Coins.

Additionally, later this year, the chain will feature in-game integrations such as Chipotle Daily Brackets, Battle Hub signage and branded avatars.

Further, the Chipotle Challenger Series will return June 17, featuring Street Fighter 6 as its title game. Winners will receive a trip to the 2023 Evolution Championship Series in Las Vegas. Chipotle will serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2023 Evolution Championship Series (Evo), a sponsor of Combo Breaker, an advertiser on PlayStation media, and the first-ever restaurant brand to offer free food as viewer rewards on Twitch.

On-site spectators and players at Evo will be treated to integrated experiences, including a community lounge, pick-up brackets for Chipotle prizes, and custom gifts for pool qualifiers. 

"Our FGC partnerships closely align Chipotle to a passionate and competitive community of gamers who are looking for convenient, delicious, and healthy options while playing titles like Street Fighter 6," Chipotle CMO Chris Brandt said in a statement. "We're thrilled to be able to enhance gameplay and unlock fun experiences for gamers."

KFC x Diablo IV

Also, KFC announced this week that customers who purchase any KFC chicken sandwich on the brand’s app or website will be eligible to unlock exclusive in-game rewards for the new Diablo IV video game. Those rewards include up to five battle cosmetics in KFC’s signature red and white brand colors, with each piece of equipment representing one Diablo class.

“As the fried chicken experts, we’ve set the standard in the fried chicken sandwich game,” CMO Nick Chavez said in a statement. “Now fans of Diablo IV can feed their hunger for both our best chicken sandwich ever and exclusive in-game rewards.”

In March, KFC and Blizzard Entertainment kicked off their collaboration by offering customers the chance to preview Diablo IV during a beta weekend by purchasing a KFC Double Down Sandwich. Diablo IV launches June 6 and is the next installment in the video game series inviting players to “join the fight against evil.”

To automatically unlock the exclusive in-game rewards, customers need to create a KFC account on the KFC app or and sync their KFC account to their Diablo IV account. Customers can then unlock up to four additional rewards by purchasing the qualifying menu items on the KFC app or during the promotional period (one sandwich order unlocks one new reward), which runs through July 2.

A large and captive audience

These two promotions illustrate the potential for restaurant brands to reach consumers through popular gaming platforms. The global gaming industry is expected to be worth $321 billion by 2026, according to PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2022-26. That growth is coming from all demographics – from moms to baby boomers. But it’s the coveted Gen Z generation and its $360 billion of disposable income that may be the biggest target. According to Deloitte, roughly three in 10 Gen Z teens (27%) say gaming is their favorite entertainment activity.

To understand why KFC and Chipotle are focused on these collaborations specifically, consider that Diablo 3 logged around 1 million unique players per day when it was released. Stifel and Benchmark forecast about 13 million units sold for Diablo IV this year, but other analysts are far more bullish on the game and expect it to exceed revenue expectations by $1 billion.

Meanwhile, Street Fighter V has been watched for over 8.2 million hours with an average of 2,428 viewers and a peak of 102,205 so far this year. Parent company Capcom is aiming to sell a record 10 million copies of Street Fighter 6.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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