DrLupo Discusses His Approach to Brand Deals
Mentioned in this articlePersonalities:Games:Teams:
Ben “DrLupo” Lupo never thought he’d be in the position he is right now. Following the boom of Fortnite , Lupo’s Twitch stream has exploded, and thanks to the connections he has made, and his family man-like personality, he has become one of Twitch’s most high-profile influencers.
With increased popularity, Lupo has been presented numerous opportunities to be involved in events like TwitchCon and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). He helped Hershey’s market a new candy bar at TwitchCon. He’s been an announcer for the Fortnite celebrity Pro-Am at E3 2018, and he’s even participated in a roast for fellow streamer Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar at TwitchCon 2018.
“If you talked to me four years ago when I first started streaming that I was ever going to be in this position I would have laughed at you straight to your face,” Lupo said. “Fortnite changed the game entirely for a lot of people, myself included.”
“I’m not trying to sell myself. I’m trying to make people happy, and that’s the bottom line.”
It took a combination of timing and strategically positioning himself and his brand to get where he is, but now his streaming life is often interrupted by trips to events and conventions. So when his management team asked him if he was interested in partnering with 7-Eleven to promote its 7NOW delivery app it was an easy decision.
Lupo admitted to being forgetful and said that he sees the value in having a way to quickly get a healthy snack, drink, or even a phone charger while he’s on the road.
“That role that 7-Eleven fills with the 7NOW app is perfect for me now that I travel a ton because I don’t have to worry necessarily about what I’ve forgotten,” Lupo said.
Related Article: Dr Lupo Teams with 7-Eleven for Delivery App 7NOW E3 Activation
That’s what partnerships are all about to Lupo, whose streaming career started in 2013 when he was playing the Destiny franchise. Lupo said that he’s never made any initial contacts with brands to create partnerships. He prefers for his partnerships to come to him more organically.
“I never felt the need to put myself out there like that and say, ‘hey, don’t forget about me,’” Lupo said. “I’m not trying to sell myself. I’m trying to make people happy, and that’s the bottom line.”
Even in his Destiny days, his first brand deals came from natural connections as opposed to self-promotion. When he originally partnered with one of his first brands, Blue Microphones, it wasn’t because he personally reached out.
“They were partnering with a friend of mine who also streamed Destiny to provide him with audio equipment, and I was having audio issues at the time, and he actually contacted them and said, ‘hey, you should talk to DrLupo,’” he said. “That was a pretty basic, ‘here’s some stuff that you need for your stream. Put our logo up there. The end.’ … I was like ‘perfect! It’s no big deal.’”
“Unless you’re the most amazing B.S.-er or liar in the world, you can’t hide something like being disingenuous to your audience.”
Since then the process of working with brands has evolved for Lupo, but the premise remains the same. He gets numerous requests from people looking to partner with him, but he’s not looking for partners that are simply going to give him a lucrative deal. He’s looking for brands that fit his own personal brand as a family-friendly father and husband who loves to play games.
“I don’t want to come across as disingenuous to my fanbase because we kind of fill a role as content creators that not many other mediums do. … People can talk to us directly way easier,” Lupo said. “You’re not going to go into a movie and pull up the chat app and talk to the actor in the middle of a movie right?”
While authenticity plays a role in any brand deal, it takes a heightened importance for live streamers. Because Lupo talks to his audience in real time, with no delay, he doesn’t want to risk coming across as insincere.
“Unless you’re the most amazing B.S.-er or liar in the world, you can’t hide something like being disingenuous to your audience,” he said. “It’s just not possible because they can physically see your face. They can hear you. So I’m not going to sell you alcohol on my stream because I don’t drink much. It would be so blindly B.S. of me.”
That’s why Lupo chose now as the time to partner with 7-Eleven. If 7-Eleven had come to Lupo last year, he says he would have likely rejected its offer because it wouldn’t have been as authentic. At the time, he didn’t travel much, and he typically stayed at home. Now that he’s traveling more often for business-related events, the deal makes sense in his mind.
Moving to Management
In the past, Lupo and his wife, Samantha, managed his brand deals, but once things started to blow up, the couple needed support. In March of 2018, while Fortnite was starting to blossom, Lupo’s home was “swatted” (when a prank caller convinces emergency services to dispatch a SWAT team to a particular address) multiple times and around the same time his father passed away.
As a collection of personal and family matters stacked up, Lupo needed to find a way to handle his growing professional streaming career while still being able to tend to his family’s needs.
“They’re the direct contacts for things like that because the investors behind the parent company like Steve Aoki and Imagine Dragons.”
“The storm of everything happening simultaneously kind of put us in a position where we needed someone to start having these conversations on behalf of us,” Lupo said. “We’re pretty good. I have a super wife. She’s a superhero through and through, but even then it just became too much and it was putting stress on us.”
Related Article: Loaded Re-Signs Ninja to Management Deal, Adds DrLupo and CouRage
This spring Lupo signed on with Loaded Management, and the beginning of the relationship required a learning phase. Lupo said that at first, his management team presented a lot of opportunities to him as they tried to understand what sorts of things he would accept and what he would reject.
As his team started to better understand the types of brand deals he was interested in, the volume of opportunities presented to him directly decreased, and instead the opportunities became more finely tuned to where his interests are aligned.
For many influencers, the role of a team organization could seem confusing. Lupo joined Rogue as a part of the organization’s team for the shooting game Destiny, which ultimately never took off. However after the game’s esports didn’t go anywhere, Lupo stayed with Rogue.
Pictured: Lupo and his wife MrsDrLupo. Credit: DrLupo
The organization saw value in him not only as an esports player, but as an influencer as well according to Frank Villarreal, CEO & co-founder of esports organization Rogue. In turn, Lupo saw value in the organization as a group of people who supported him and had a strong network of connections through numerous investors.
So when Lupo signed a deal with State Farm at the beginning of the year, Rogue was heavily involved. Additionally, Lupo hinted that there are other unannounced deals he has coming up as well, and added that Rogue’s involvement has played a crucial role in him getting connected.
Related Article: State Farm Sponsors Rogue Fortnite Player and Streamer, DrLupo
“They’re the direct contacts for things like that because the investors behind the parent company like Steve Aoki and Imagine Dragons,” Lupo said. “Those are the contacts that they’re able to provide that no matter how big my level of popularity gets, I still don’t think I’d be able to push past that line without Rogue being involved.”
“They give me the ability to focus on something that I never really thought I’d be able to streaming in education.”
Lupo said that Rogue understand his interests and help him find opportunities to follow his passion for things like education. The Find Your Grind Foundation was made for youth looking to follow their career goals, even if they don’t fit the traditional mold for college education, and with help from Rogue, Lupo has been able to work with them as well.
Lupo’s relationship with Rogue may not be what we typically think of when we discuss “teams” and “players.” For Lupo, that connection is just as important as any in being able to find the right brands to work with.
“They give me the ability to focus on something that I never really thought I’d be able to streaming in education,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been able to go down that path without them, and that’s huge for me.”
Even though Lupo is seen more as an influencer than an esports competitor, his connection with Rogue has helped him grow his brand and professional network, playing a vital role in the success of his streaming career and development of his brand deals.
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