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From Big Oil to the Navy, some surprising advertisers are targeting young people through Twitch

Oil companies, insurance sellers, and military moguls are all taking to Twitch to reach a lucrative younger audience.


Steven Asarch


Posted on Nov 6, 2023   Updated on Nov 6, 2023, 3:22 pm CST


Twitch’s parent company Amazon labels its streaming platform on its advertising website as the “global community” for “gaming, entertainment, music, sports, and more” that is “composed primarily of adult Gen Zers and Millennials.” Some companies targeting the Twitch audience, like a game developer promoting their latest release or a company trying to sell tools to help streamers go live, make sense. Others, like oil companies Shell and Chevron, are a bit more confounding.

At this year’s TwitchCon, for example, Shell sponsored “Fortnite” streamers and plastered its name across walls and banners, in an apparent effort to reach a demographic “phasing out fossil fuels.” Chevron, an alleged worldwide polluter that historically hasn’t done much Twitch advertising, also decided this year to have a booth at the show, handing out plastic bags with sunglasses. After about four hours of circling the Chevron booth like an oil-covered shark and asking the bag handlers if there was anyone I could speak to about why they were at the Con, I was finally told, “Our supervisor said we can’t speak to the press.”   

Companies can purchase slots for display ads that show on the Twitch home page, as well as videos that appear before and during streams, which streamers can’t opt out of. Because these ads are part of a streamer’s broadcast and how they pay their bills, an advertiser must show up as genuine (and not just interested in exploiting the $347 billion gaming market) to ensure long-term brand affinity. …

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*First Published: Nov 6, 2023, 3:21 pm CST