Enthusiast Gaming hires Nick Brien to refine the approach to marketers and agencies
As gaming continues to cement itself as a primary form of entertainment for people of all ages, not just Gen Z and millennials, the major players creating content and communities around gaming keep trying to lure more marketers and their agencies into the fold. And sometimes it helps to bring in an executive who knows how to speak that language a bit more fluently.
Which is exactly why Enthusiast Gaming brought on agency and ad-tech vet Nick Brien — no stranger to marketing circles — as its new CEO. It doesn’t hurt that less than a year ago, investors were looking to replace then-CEO Adrian Montgomery, who now becomes chairman of the Canadian-based gaming company.
Over the course of his careers, Brien has run several agency holding company groups and networks (IPG’s McCann Group and Mediabrands, Dentsu Americas and iCrossing) as well as media companies (he most recently was CEO of ad-tech firm Amobee, which was sold to Tremor Media but also worked at Hearst Magazines).
“It’s very exciting for us to take this next step with Nick with his experience with brands, how to speak to brands, how to deliver ROI and value from brands to make their experience and interaction with gaming more authentic and more valuable,” said Eric Bernofsky, chief corporate officer at Enthusiast. “Nick’s experience and background is really going to put this thing on steroids for us.”
Enthusiast is a platform for gaming content as expressed through communities, publications and creators. The company cited recent Comscore stats showing it to be a primary destination for gamers, attracting 49.1 million unique visitors to its sites in January. But the company has also gone through some changes, including the gutting of Upcomer following its acquisition as a sign esports is still trying to find its way.
The following conversation has been edited for space and clarity.
What was appealing to you about this gig?
It’s the most exciting sector, and not just from a scale and a growth point of view. Just the diversity of our audiences here, when you think about the fans playing ranging from console games to PCs to the casual mobile gamer … This sector has a different dimension of opportunity around the fact that it’s the tip of the spear into the metaverse — gaming is at the forefront. And I believe that so many brands and ad agencies are now really recognizing that to really experiment and for R&D and innovation around 3D, Web 3 and Metaverse opportunity, it’s within the gaming sector.
Another key point that attracted me: it is a new industry vertical that I’m going to have to learn and really lean deep into. Obviously I bring to the normal skills: brand building and marketing and creativity, and then through the media side, the ad tech side, all things around data tech, and then the accountability of that. But I haven’t enjoyed this dimension where the …read more