Bell’s five-digit sponsorship is worth $1m

Who: Bell, with Zulu Alpha Kilo for strategy and creative; Zulubot for production (directed by Christopher Basalo-Gonzalez), Bell and OverActive Media for PR.

What: “Million Dollar Fingers,” a unique sponsorship activation based on the idea that Bell insured the fingers of members of Toronto Ultra, Canada’s leading Call of Duty esports team.

When & Where: The campaign launched this week, running across digital video and social. It’s timed for the team’s upcoming appearance in the Call of Duty Major V Tournament, which is taking place in Toronto May 25-28.

Why: As a leader in Canadian esports, Bell is always seeking innovative ways to support the community, said vice-president, brand and sponsorship David Kennedy. The campaign is also showcasing Bell as the provider of Canada’s best internet for gamers.

“As a founding partner of Toronto Ultra, Canada’s only professional Call of Duty esports team since 2019, we want to reinforce the legitimacy of esports as a world-class competition,” said Kennedy. “At Bell, we believe professional gamers should be treated like professional athletes, and that’s why we are insuring esports players’ fingers up to $1 million each.”

How: Multiple prominent sports stars have insured the body parts that are so key to their livelihood over the years. Soccer star Lionel Messi’s lethal left foot is insured for a reported €750 million, while Mets pitcher Max Scherzer famously took out a $40 million policy guarding against shoulder or arm injuries.

For members of Toronto Ultra, their fingers are their moneymakers. And while esports is generally regarded as a sedentary activity, it can actually exact a physical toll on its participants.

The accompanying video leans on some of the familiar images of sports training, but seen through the lens of esports, with images of Team Ultra members Jamie “Insight” Craven, Tobias “CleanX” Jønsson, Thomas “Scrap” Ernst, and Charlie “Hicksy” Hicks using hand-grippers to strengthen their fingers, bending their hand back at the wrist to limber it up, etc. “We’ve got their back. And their fingers,” says the closing super.

And we quote: “We got creative with our approach for this campaign given the less traditional nature of the competition. We wanted to push the boundaries of what sponsorships can look like for brands.” — Zak Mroueh, founder and creative chairman, Zulu Alpha Kilo

Chris Powell