Joe Moore

Why marketeers can’t resist the World Cup

World Cup Marketing Tactics

It’s FIFA World Cup™ time! We’ve created our own football stickers (don’t we look great!), placed our sweepstake and ironed our football jerseys. We’ve also been keeping a close eye on what marketing tactics are being used by some of the global brands – and this got us thinking. This four-week World Cup frenzy really is the time when brands pull out all stops to fight for consumers’ attention. The top-20 World Cup 2014 ads have so far netted 6.9 million shares across social media, and the games have only just begun!

So what exactly is it about the World Cup that makes global brands dig deep into their marketing budgets to pull out all the stops? We’ve identified five reasons why we believe marketeers simply can’t resist the mass of marketing opportunities offered by the World Cup.

1. Real time interaction
In the World Cup, anything can happen, from unpredictable injuries, penalty shoot outs, right through to the political unrest in Brazil. Those businesses who want to engage with football audiences need to identify ways in which they might react to unforeseen events that may surround the World Cup.

A great example of tapping into an audience engaging in an event was Oreo’s reaction to a power outage, which caused a 34-minute delay during the 2013 Super Bowl in America. Oreo took advantage of the world’s attention on the power outage, by simply placing a picture of an Oreo on Twitter with the caption ‘You can still dunk in the dark’. The content was simple but very timely and reactive that evoked a lot of re-tweets.

Oreo Superbowl Blackout

2. A united audience
There’s no other single event that unites fans through their shared love of football and stops everyone in their tracks quite like the World Cup does. It’s also a great way for brands to connect emotionally with their audiences. We definitely felt all sorts of emotions while watching all the World Cup ads from pride, excitement and team loyalty.

Budweiser has created a series of TV and digital advertising with their ‘Believe as One’ campaign. The music used in this video evokes all sorts of emotions to unite fans from all over the world.

3. Social interaction
Social media is an emotive and genuine way for fans to follow the game, share their experiences and interact with fans across the globe. Many of them will be actively tweeting to celebrate the highs and lows of the onscreen action. Twitter is expected to see the most social media activity ever, with 43% of UK fans expecting to check football results via Twitter. This highlights how live TV is inherently social, conversational, and in the case of the World Cup, global.

The Coca-Cola Company created pre-World Cup excitement on social media by inviting consumers around the world to submit video clips capturing ‘Moments of Happiness’ to be featured in a music video for ‘The World is Ours’, the brand’s 2014 World Cup campaign anthem.

4. Targeted content
Marketers are planning more integrated and targeted content across multiple devices around the World Cup season. The technological advancements in outdoor media also present brands with innovative ways to engage and target their audiences with content. Digital billboards surround the soccer fields, displaying dynamic content captured by cameras throughout the game. Think about how many fans would tweet with a branded hashtag for a chance to see their handle appear on the field during a match.

World Cup sponsor Adidas is betting heavily on the jump to multi-screen devices, with plans for a media room in Brazil to deliver and filter content from its sponsored teams and players.

5. Globalisation
The global nature of the World Cup means that businesses are taking advantage of a large, captive and global audience. Coca-Cola’s happiness flag created from 220,000 photos from all over the globe, showing the world the power of football that brings people from different backgrounds and beliefs together. We think this is a great way to leverage technology, reach a global audience and include user-generated content.


Any business with a little imagination could use the World Cup as a way to attract and engage with a global and captive audience, but to stand any chance of success, brands must commit to ‘real-time’ content, delivered via multi channels – but above all they need to be authentic in order to enhance the fan experience beyond the viewing of the beautiful game.

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