A tournament between the brands …

The World Cup is undeniably one of the largest marketing platforms in the world.  While “soccer” might be called “football” in other parts of the world, the World Cup easily dwarfs the Super Bowl in terms of exposure.  There is no other sporting event that attracts such a dedicated and captivated global audience.  The 2010 World Cup held in South Africa attracted over 3.2 billion viewers, broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels.

It is no wonder then that this month-long tournament allures diverse global brands, each “lacing up” in an effort to ride the FIFA buzz.  This quadrennial marketing phenomenon has routinely seduced brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nike, McDonalds and Budweiser, to name a few.  And with an increasingly more digitalized world, brands are able to reach a larger audience, one that expands far beyond standard television broadcasts.

In just the last 4 years – i.e. since the 2010 World Cup – social media and the amount of users online has grown exponentially. In 2010, only 20% of marketing spend was digital. Tom Ramsden, global brand marketing director for Adidas football says, “It’s not about a need to do ‘the big TV ad.’ This will undoubtedly be the most social Word Cup ever and probably the most social event in history.” What’s more, the growth of these various online platforms means that any brand-regardless of size, can win the spotlight.  And this year, we will be watching, anxiously awaiting for those brands that do.  Similar to the teams on the field, brands will be going head-to-head in a corresponding marketing battle to gain the attention of the millions of receptive and dedicated soccer fans.

To kick-off the 2014 FIFA Marketing Play-offs, let’s look at what we deem as the three most successful marketing campaigns from the 2010 tournament.

Nike: Write the Future

Nike sparked the pre-kickoff excitement with their mini movie ad before the 2010 South Africa World Cup. In the span of one week, this epic ad became the most viewed viral video on the Internet, accumulating 7.8 million views.

Coca Cola: Quest

Coca Cola bring back Roger Miller, the first African player to score at a World Cup playoff game. Utilizing an animated ad, music, and a focus on the ‘History of Celebration’, this was said to be the single largest marketing push to soft drink has ever created.

Visa: Evolution

A chubby man inspired by the World Cup games, grabs his visa card and races through various cities and countries until he reaches his ultimate destination, a FIFA World Cup football game, where he scores a goal- and celebrates accordingly.

Pepsi: ‘Oh Africa’

FIFA football stars Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo play a game with the locals, who know a thing or two about football.  This marketing campaign was launched months before kickoff was the first World Cup ad to make the Visible Measures top 10 Viral Video Ad Campaigns chart-racking up over 500,000 videos in one weeks time.

Whether you’re a die hard soccer fan, casual observer who checks in every four years or someone who could care less, one thing is for certain: the World Cup captures the worlds attention for four plus weeks both on and off the field.

Stay tuned for the next month as we hold our own tournament: Trademark Products FIFA Marketing Play Offs! We can’t wait to see what brands end up on top!  #FIFAMARKETINGPLAYOFFS


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