League Of Legends’ World Champs Commercial Is A Missed Opportunity

League Of Legends’ World Champs Commercial Is A Missed Opportunity

The League of Legends World Championship is one of the biggest prizes in esports. Given the field’s struggles to be taken more seriously – even as it draws in bigger crowds and bigger bucks – this trailer for the event seems a bit out of place.

While it’s a slick piece of production, it also plays to just about every League of Legends stereotype there is. The hoodies. The darkened child’s bedroom. The anger. There’s even the literal smashing of a keyboard, portrayed as some kind of necessary rite of passage on the way to becoming a champion.

I think it’s a bit of a shame! It’s a game whose pro scene is full of drama and cut-throat competition, not to mention a fanbase of millions. Why not sell LoL’s biggest event of year using the elements that bring people to it in the first place? The spectacle, the excitement! Yeah, there’s a little bit of hugging in the clip, but most of it is so dark. Why draw attention to negative behaviour like smashing a keyboard?

It seems odd to almost pander like this to a hardcore fanbase. Surely they already know about the event, are already hyped, and an expensive trailer should be selling this to potential new fans?

(Unless, of course, I’m reading this entirely wrong and Riot don’t care about that, and this is supposed to be simply hyping up the converted)

This feels like the NFL selling a commercial using a big white guy in a flannel shirt swilling a beer on his couch on a Sunday afternoon, while the action on-screen cuts to a penalty for unnecessary roughness. Real it may be, but it’s not the best look for anyone on the outside looking in, curious to see what all the fuss is about.

But then, like I said, maybe I’ve read this totally wrong! If you’re a hardcore League fan, and this vid speaks to you and has you super excited for the Worlds, then maybe that’s all that needed to happen, and I’m expecting too much/the wrong thing from a single animated advertisement.


  • I really like it, both the song and the video. I think what i like about the video is the over exaggeration of the reactions of the players in it. It makes the video dramatic which builds hype.

    … I also love any Gorrilaz-esqe style of animation… and imagine dragons.

  • I actually kind of liked that as a bit of promotional material, it displays a very real approach to the time, effort and I guess pain that goes into being a professional gamer.

    Even among gamers there’s a pretty decent stigma attached to pursuing this career path.

    Compared to something like Rugby, where all the players are made out to be some kind of titans or gods among men (often referred to as such no less) with over exaggerated importance of the players to boot, it’s kind of interesting that Riot have chosen to show that the top players of this game get where they are through hard work and frustration (not that footy players don’t either, but it’s not really shown), often in dark rooms and hoodies.

    • where all the players are made out to be some kind of titans or gods among men
      Kind of like how the LoL pros are made out to be some higher echelon that kind turn into beams of light?
      The top is full of hyperbole, don’t claim that pro gaming is exempt.

  • It’s about the Championship though, it isn’t about trying to get new people in LoL. This would be more akin to a Footy Finals advertisement

    I think the fact that a megaband like Imagine Dragons collaborating with a company like Riot should have been talked about more.

  • The main thing i got from it is that Riot has a serious amount of money…

    however i’m probably gonna watch some of the WCS just because it looks interesting, i wish league copied dota 2’s idea of having a newbie stream so i could understand what was happening though…

  • Don’t play MOBAs, don’t have any particular interest in the pro gaming scene; I respect their work ethic and honed abilities but I’m just not interested in watching.
    With those credentials out of the way, all I see in this video are stereotypes, unhealthy stereotypes at that. They might speak to the scene, and that may be why I steer clear of the scene.

    The bad thing is that I watch the video and think “yep, bunch of teenagers getting angry about shit and playing games”, yet I know there’s so much more than that reduction. Weird piece of communication by Riot.

    I also wouldn’t call Imagine Dragons a megaband. They hold some acclaim and it’s quite cool that they collaborated with Riot to make music for a game they like. That’s all.

  • Personally, I think the video is cool and it’s to hype worlds up. Trying to detect underlying notions or values which you expect will only bias your perception on the value of the video. It’s a promotional piece and people like it, that’s about it. But if I were to say anything of the video beyond what it is, I’d say the video represents the state of some pro-players in the scene as they pour numerous hours into the game, and when you put any great amount of hours into something, you develop a passion for it and I reckon the video expresses the hardship but also the dream of getting to the big stage which many pro-players experience. In the end of the day, it’s a promotional piece and I’d rather not make it something more than that 🙂

  • Fans tend to enjoy seeing their own team win. Neutrals tend to enjoy drama. Which is exactly what this seems to indicate exists. It’s just like any other ad for any other sport, only with a good song. And that might be the point – to show that there drama involving players, because it’s a sport.
    Although I mean, I have no idea what league of legends is – or more importantly, how the whole genre of games even work. The ad has successfully made me want to watch a tournament, but it hasn’t successfully made me want to figure how the tournament works. So really, I have no idea who it’s aimed at.

  • I think it draws in many similarities to the FIFA commercial for Brazil 2015.

    I personally liked it although some inclusion of the massive scale of the events such as worlds should have been included. These tournaments take place all over the world and fill entire stadiums such as the Staples Centre.

    I think the commercial as a whole was interesting following the struggles of the players leading up to the biggest tournament of the year. It’s not unlike the kind of commercial you’d see for the AFL/NFL in Australia or the NFL in America, that shows the struggles the teams have faced through the year leading to the drama/excitement of the finals.

    I think it won’t be the only commercial we’ll see from Riot with this tournament. They also released a series following the players and teams leading up to the tournament throughout the year. I think the focus of all this press is to being a spotlight to the ‘Gods among men’ and show the other side of them that the fans don’t often see.

    In a way the ‘World’s’ tournament is the biggest piece of marketing that Riot will do this year. Watching the LCS and other big tournaments on Twitch.TV is the reason I started playing League and even though I don’t play often I still follow the tournaments closely, because they are such a spectacle. But still in the back of your mind give fans the thought, “I could do that, I can do that, I might just do it now.”
    And off they go to play more league.

  • Despite the negative sterotypes it uses, that trailer was freaking awesome.
    It’s a shame I’m too consumed by the AFL to focus on watching League, though.

  • it simply comes down to the objective of the campaign. If it’s to expand the category then the ad has probably failed to do this as it is full of category cliches and would have limited appeal I.e many of the people above who think it’s ‘cool’
    But if it’s to generate excitement with the typical demo for this event then it probably works well as evidenced above. The agency probably could of easily tweaked said campaign to drive more appeal e.g adding in a girl character or a slightly older player as well as ramping up the skill and technical aspects vs. the more younger emotional frustration pieces that have been dialed up here though these are good for the core target

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