Livewire: How to get from NPC to MVP in gaming

WPP House

Livewire: How to get from NPC to MVP in gaming


Audiences have moved on from using social media for community and connection – they're now finding that secret sauce in gaming and it’s driving cultural convergence at scale...

Whether it’s NFL teams bonding in Warzone, the biggest gig of all time happening on Roblox, friends having meditative experiences together in The Sims or different generations coming together to play Mario as a family. Gaming is here to take the crown as the most social media form around.

The challenge for brands?

Most haven’t caught up with the mass migration, evolving audience behaviours and the playable opportunities available in gaming. In this exclusive SXSW Sydney session, Chief Strategy Officer of gaming marketing and gametech company Livewire Gareth Leeding reveals the cultural shift driving the brand opportunity in and around the game.


Gareth Leeding – Chief Strategy Officer, Livewire
For over 15 years Gareth has led global brands, tech companies and ad agencies into the future. His unique approach of culture first creativity has delivered over 60 award wins for ground-breaking campaigns across digital, social, gaming, and augmented reality for the likes of Activision, adidas, Google, Lego, Pepsi, PlayStation, Snapchat, Uber and more.

In 2022, Gareth joined global gaming marketing company Livewire as Chief Strategy Officer. Across his career Gareth has strived to drive innovation in advertising. While APAC Head of Creative Strategy at Snap Inc. they were recognised as one of Fast Company’s ‘most innovative companies in the world’ and during his time as Executive Creative Director at We Are Social London they were recognised by Campaign as the ‘most innovative agency in EMEA’ two years running.

Gareth is also a prominent industry speaker globally having delivered keynotes at AdWeek, D&AD, Festival of Marketing and Social Media Week.

Tolga Balabaner, Google, Creative Strategy Lead, AUNZ

Tolga is extremely passionate & dedicated to creating purposeful, innovative campaigns that thrive at the intersection of helpfulness & usefulness. He has over a decade of expertise in advertising, media, and technology. He currently leads Creative Strategy at Google AUNZ, a role that reflects his journey from Ogilvy in Dubai to MediaCom Sydney and establishing the Snapchat business in Australia in 2016, leading creative strategy across key clients until 2019 - when he joined Google.

His contributions have been recognized with a number of individual & collaborative awards, including being a finalist for APG Planner of the Year and B&T Strategist of the Year, along with multiple accolades from AWARD Awards, B&T, Cannes Lions, Effies, and MFA. Most recently he led creative strategy for Maybelline NY "Eyes Up" Campaign which resulted in the most effective campaign launch ever for L'Oreal Group in Australia and New Zealand.

Marine Turner – Group Strategy Director, EssenceMediacom

Marine’s career has spanned over creative and media agencies in France, Australia and the United Kingdom, always within the remit of strategic planning, delivering campaigns who went on to win a combined 16 awards including a Cannes Lion, Festival of Media Global Awards and WARC Media Awards. She has been working at EssenceMediacom for over a decade, first in media planning then as a strategist. Over the years, she has seen gaming develop not only as a media behaviour across ever expanding audiences but also as a media solution, offering advertisers opportunities for meaningful communication at scale. Notably, she has worked on the launch of a number of PlayStation releases like God of War Ragnarök; Final Fantasy XVI or Marvel Spider-Man 2 as well as the latest PlayStation 5 brand campaign; on the release of Australia’s most successful animation of all time and well-loved gaming franchise Super Mario Bros The Movie and is helping other brands like Uber to step into the world of gaming for their campaigns.

This is an open house session. Open House sessions are open to all, however capacity is limited so guests will be seated on a first come, first serve basis. For an invite to this session contact Gareth Leeding,


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