Football World Cup 2014 – Let The Marketing Games Begin

Posted: July 18, 2014

From this week (June 12) to mid-July, over 3.2 billion people will be focused on the single most popular sporting event in the world. The FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 12th in Brazil, the country that is synonymous with football, or soccer as we and the Americans call it. Brazil has had some hiccups in its preparations, but the economic windfall from hosting the World Cup could be upwards of R500-billion ($65B), according to the Emerging Markets Centre, while Forbes estimates that the influx of visitors alone will generate over R24 billion ($3B) for Brazil. And, of course, it is also the stage for introducing innovative concepts and pushing marketing to new heights.  Brand development and marketing insight consultancy, Added Value’s Jonathan Hall runs through some you may want to watch for.

Group A:  Opportunity vs. challenges

This single event provides both opportunities and challenges for brands. Broadcast opportunities may be limited and fans may be inundated by corporate sponsors, but social media space is fair game for anyone. And that’s not all. The competition inspires brands to experiment with new and different ways to engage with consumers. WARC covers 11 strategies employed by top brands, from launching User Generated Content campaigns to guerrilla tactics.

Group B:  Adidas vs. Nike

More specifically, it’s a battle between Adidas jerseys and Nike boots. Adidas has painstakingly researched how to build a better jersey. Meanwhile, Nike’s Magista boots will make their debut at the World Cup. Let’s hope that both Adidas and Nike avoid the criticism of poor performance experienced by Under Armor during the Winter Olympics.

Group C:  Robots versus humans

We like robots and we are eager to see how a “young paraplegic Brazilian will stand up from a wheelchair, walk over to midfield, and take a kick in the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup.” Not only will robots be featured during the opening ceremony, they will also be used to protect fans and Brazilians alike. iRobot will be supplying 30 PackBot robots to help analyze suspicious-looking objects and vacuum the floors.

Group D:  Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi

Ah, the classic battle of the sodas, always a fan favourite. This World Cup proves no different as both teams blitz their fans with messages of their love of football.  In the months leading up to Brazil 2014, Coke has been practicing hard with Real Time Marketing. Coke plans to use this skill to keep Pepsi at bay.

Group E:  Big data vs. little data

It’s not only Coca-Cola that plans on using big data to engage with fans: so is Facebook as half of its network love football. Sochi helped pave the way for how to best leverage big data to keep things moving smoothly. From preventing serious meltdowns due to the internet crashing to managing the entire city of Rio de Janeiro, this Cup will be powered by big, real-time data.

Group F:  Volkswagen vs. Hyundai

Hyundai is an official sponsor of the World Cup, but that’s not going to intimidate Volkswagen. Expect feisty Volkswagen to play hard and plan a major World Cup advertising offence. They are attempting the perfect trifecta:  targeting Hispanics with the popular GTI during the games they love. But don’t expect Hyundai to take this. They too have been training to attract Hispanics and with the upper hand on being an official sponsor, it might be a tight match.

Group G:  Working vs. watching your team

Looks like our UK headquarters is going to be a little distracted in June. It used to be that you would have to bring TVs into the office or stream matches, but now there are lots of great apps to keep fans connected. And our favorite app? The one that turns a fast-food tray (or any tray) into a playing field.

Group H:  Sony vs. HD

Your high-definition TV is old school and for a few lucky fans they will be able to experience at least 3 matches in ULTRA high-def. Sony is partnering with FIFA to produce 4K (ultra-HD) quality matches to encourage adoption of the technology. In addition to creating a new viewing experience, Sony also launched a social media site to unite fans from around the world.


Note: Jonathan Hall is President Consulting for North America, Added Value.