Totino's turns to Twitch for its Super Bowl marketing

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Twelve years after the Subservient Chicken, here comes the “Bucking Couch.”

On Super Bowl Sunday, pizza rolls brand Totino’s is hosting a three-and-a-half hour gaming competition on Amazon’s live streaming gaming platform Twitch. Popular Twitch gamers like iijeriichoii, summit1g, TimTheTatman and GoldGlove will go head-to-head in a series of contests where one gamer sits on a regular couch and the other on the “Bucking Couch,” which will spin, roll and buck based on chat commands sent in by viewers. Pizza rolls will be on the set; players may or may not munch on them during battle.

The broadcast, which will begin on the General Mills brand’s Twitch channel at 3 p.m. EST, is part of the “Twitch Plays” program, which invites advertisers to run interactive campaigns. The idea of the program is to get advertisers to move beyond the standard ad buys. The campaign is also part of Totino’s broader strategy shift from targeting pizza roll-buying moms to pizza roll-scarfing 20-somethings. Twitch’s demographic is not unfamiliar with the siren call of the pizza roll.

“We’re getting interest from bigger CPG brands who are willing to take risks these days,” said Andrea Garabedian, sales marketing director for Twitch. “What they want from these kids is their time and attention, to keep them hooked to the brand. They see what it takes to engage with these males.”

Take, for instance, an earlier Twitch Plays campaign by Old Spice, which allowed viewers to control an anonymous “Nature Man” as he traveled through a mysterious forest. It drew more than 2.65 million total views with 15.6 million minutes of video consumed over three days, according to Twitch. Viewers also interacted, with 1.4 million chat commands over the three days the campaign aired.

Time spent on Twitch in the U.S. jumps 10-15 percent on Super Bowl Sunday compared to the previous two months’ worth of Sundays, according to Garabedian. Twitch averages 106 minutes watched per person per day. The reason for this rise is one of life’s mysteries.

For Totino’s, it helps that Super Bowl Sunday is already a big day for pizza — and pizza rolls. “What we love about [the Bucking Couch Twitch broadcast] is that it builds toward the game,” said Brad Hiranaga, business unit director for Totino’s. “If we can get people tuning in thinking ahead about our brand and product before they go to wherever they’re going to go to watch the game, then it’s a smart way for us to be spending money.”

Image via Totino’s