Marketing 101 at the World Cup

July 10, 2014 | Charlene

Comments (0)

Uruguay and Costa Rica FIFA World Cup 2014
Credit: Danilo Borges/Portal da Copa

According to a recent Forbes article, 'World Cup Soccer: 770 Billion Minutes of Attention', the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ expects to have a viewership of 3.2 billion. That means, the entire tournament would attract 770 billion minutes of people's attention if they watch one entire game.

The article further states, "FIFA has the potential to generate $23 billion in revenues from TV ads, billboards, and sponsorships in a month. In other words, this would make FIFA the seventh largest business in the world..."

It's not a surprise that sponsors such as Adidas, Coca-Cola and Sony are willing to cap on the viewership. This is the ultimate event to get people around the world talking about your product.

Most prestigious events such as the World Cup, and Superbowl all have "official sponsors". Television and media companies also buy the rights to either broadcast or rebroadcast the games. Advertisers in turn buy air time to promote their product.

So how do these companies market and promote their brand especially with all the competition?  The key is to keep the audience engaged, so they can remember the brand. To stand out, advertisers tap into people's passion for the sport. And this type of brand recognition and identity will determine who comes out on top. Companies like Nike and Adidas have the money to use high profile players but can small businesses compete with them? 


Following are some key strategies to use to overcome limited resources:


1. Know your audience 

Nike uses a simple tagline "Risk Everything" for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. So far, over 16 million people have viewed Nike's "The Risk Everything" YouTube video. The video features the top 3 Soccer players, Critiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr. and Wayne Rooney and ends with a simple and powerful message that "pressure shapes legends."

Nike's consistent message in its ad campaigns and advertisements translates into brand awareness.  For any business to succeed, they must first know their target audience and then capitalize on its customer base.  This means knowing who your customers are, what their likes and dislikes are and how they communicate.

Nike Logo 
Credit: Craig Sunter

2. Uniqueness

A company must know what makes their product unique. Your brand, identity and logo should set you apart from your competitors.  Nike has that unmistakable swoosh logo, and Hyundai has that unusual "H". A brand that is distinct from others, has a higher chance of being recognized and remembered.


3. Tap into feelings of emotion

Here is where the World Cup sets itself apart from all other major sporting events. Because of it's global appeal, advertisers are taking advantage of nationalism. This is clearly evident in Nike's marketing campaign.  In Coca-Cola's ads, they are selling the spirit of community, happiness and nostalgia. In both cases, these companies are tapping into the audience's love for their nation and sport.


4. Tap into social media outlets

Social media is another area of interest for advertisers and the audience. The World Cup is generating more tweets than the 2012 London Olympics. Arguably, making it the most "cluttered social conversation ever". After the Luis Suarez's "biting incident" during one of the matches, companies quickly bought promoted tweets under the #Suarez hashtag.

Social media plays a significant role in how we get our information. It is how many of us connect, interact and express ourselves. Businesses can take advantage of this by getting its customers to follow them via social media. They can also promote their product by adapting or reacting to events in real time such as the World Cup.  Getting your audience to talk about their favourite teams generate interest and brand awareness.

38450                     Credit: Oliver Kahn


5. Grab their attention

Guerrilla marketing is another way to distinguish yourself. Some companies, such as Nike and Beats are marketing their product around the World Cup event even though they are not official sponsors.   

A great example is, "The Game before the Game" YouTube video with Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr.

In it, he is wearing the Beats by Dre headphones. FIFA banned the headphones from World Cup stadiums for licensing reasons.  This gave the company a lot of exposure and attention.  Even I have to admit that I wanted one of these headphones after watching the video. Successful advertisements are the ones in which people remember you. 


6. Leadership

Any business must have effective leadership to set the tone and guide it along the path to success. Whether it is thinking outside the box or building teamwork, effective leaders are useful for a brand's success.

Successful marketing campaigns can give a company competitive edge and brand recognition. Both large and small companies can use these strategies. Consistency, creativity, adaptability, and passion are all important ingredients in building a successful product.


To find out more about marketing your company's success, check out our Small Business resource section and add these titles to your booklist:

    Guerrilla Marketing Field Guide The Digital Marketer What Great Brands Do  YouTube Marketing Power