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Marketing Insights from the 2014 FIFA World Cup


Post Date: June 26, 2014
By: Janine Perri

The last men’s FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa in summer 2010, back when Twitter had only 40 million monthly users, Steve Jobs had just launched the iPhone 4, and Instagram did not exist yet. In the past four years, social media and mobile have exploded, and marketers are using these popular platforms to their advantage for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. With more than 3.6 billion viewers (half of the world’s population) using multiple devices and social media sites to engage with the games in Brazil, marketers are implementing multichannel strategies to join in the fútbol fever.

According to ZenithOptimedia, the 2014 World Cup is expected to provide a $1.5 billion boost to the global advertising market, with the highest media spend forecasted for Latin America and Western Europe. As with many sporting events, television remains a top priority for advertisers. While many fans will be watching on the big screen, a RadiumOne survey suggests that about half will be watching via mobile devices. In addition, CrowdTap data predicts that three-quarters of World Cup viewers will be using social media at the same time, and 42% are likely to post about their favorite ads during the games.

Adidas, an official Partner for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has been at the forefront of the games since the 1970s and has evolved its marketing strategies with social and mobile technology. In preparation for the 2014 World Cup, Adidas took to social media to host a public voting campaign for fans to name the official soccer ball for the games (the winner was “brazuca,” a term that means Brazilian). Since the games began, the Twitter handle @brazuca has gained more than 2.3 million followers and shows online videos shot from the soccer ball’s perspective. With its active television, online video, and social media strategy, Adidas is effectively using various marketing channels to receive consumer feedback and connect with fans worldwide.

Official sponsors aren’t the only ones to reach out to customers and engage in the games through customer targeting and technology. Because there are only six official FIFA Partners, eight FIFA World Cup sponsors, and eight national sponsors, brands have had to be creative in their World Cup campaigns in order to adhere to FIFA’s stringent advertising regulations. To engage with fans and prospective customers, Volkswagen created a series of videos featuring its Golf GTI model driving in circles in the middle of a soccer field, screaming “GOOOOOOLF,” just like soccer fans scream “GOOOOOAAAAL.” The videos, which appear on ESPN.com’s live-streamed matches, ESPNFC.com, Univision, and Twitter (@VWAmerica), are timed to run every time a country scores a goal. Most impressively, Volkswagen’s Twitter page informs followers after each goal is scored, and the videos are tailored according to the scoring country, showing the team’s colors. By providing valuable information and entertainment in real time and across TV, mobile, and social forums, Volkswagen engages with consumers when and where they are most interested.

For more insights about 2014 FIFA World Cup marketing, check out the DMA Friday Marketing Brief.

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