Trigger Social founder Stephen Wise reflects on which enterprising brands have tackled the World Cup head on in Brazil thus far.
We’re a couple of weeks in to the eagerly anticipated World Cup and, for a football neutral, it hasn’t disappointed. We’ve seen more goals and excitement than most people can remember. The less said about England the better!
From a marketing perspective this is the biggest World Cup yet and, as you’d expect, one of the most digital we’ve ever seen - an example being the two million daily downloads of the official app.
Combine this with over one billion people who are expected to tune in and watch, the top tier FIFA partners including Adidas, Coca Cola and Sony have reportedly dished out a combined £450 million to sponsor the event!
But is being an official FIFA sponsor the most effective way for a brand to build awareness and engagement during the event?
Some stats would suggest no, with nearly 40% of UK consumers incorrectly thinking MasterCard, Nike and Pepsi are official sponsors. It’s safe to say that brands can no longer be passive sponsors - they have to do more to captivate their audience.
One of the key trends we’ve seen is brands seeking to better understand fans on-going social conversations and their implementation of real-time and reactive strategies. This has enabled agile brands to respond to the key topics in the fan's world as they unfold. Therefore increasing the brand relevance and ability to connect around what their audience are talking about.
With the Germany v Portugal game garnering 8.9 million tweets making it the third most talked about match on Twitter so far, and Thomas Mueller’s hat-trick racking up 211,965 tweets, Adidas nailed it with their perfectly timed “Mullered” interjection.
Sony’s England v Uruguay Rooney equaliser Vine is another classic example of how it works when done right. However, a usually savvy Samsung took their eye off the ball and wished USA’s Landon Donovan good luck before the teams clash against Portugal, even though he’s not actually part of the squad.
And Delta Air Lines caused quite a furore for all the wrong reasons when they lazily depicted a giraffe as a symbol for Ghana following their defeat to USA.
Behind some of the campaigns that are unfolding before us, lies some nifty planning. Take Adidas, who have prepared 100 videos, which they will be launching in response to specific player and in-game triggers.
Deodorant brand Sure have also anticipated reactions to referee’s new spray toy with their tongue in cheek No White Marks ad.
Winning in real-time also means having the right people and processes in place. Client and agency silos need to be demolished and teams need to work more closely than ever to minimize the time of creative conception to publication. Brands must be bolder and edgier if they want to remain relevant.
One brand that knows this all too well is Paddy Power, who have been on the mark with their quick-witted and sometimes controversial content that is helping them get noticed and engage their audience.
Although not every brand can act like Paddy Power, their competitor and England’s sponsor, William Hill, has failed to capitalise and remained a passive by-stander. This is despite the 6.7 million tweets during the England v Uruguay game and England having two of the most talked about World Cup moments so far.
One thing’s for certain, the World Cup is definitely a playground filled with opportunities that brands could potentially latch onto. In a live scenario, the window of opportunity for getting involved is relatively narrow.
In conclusion, the activity around the World Cup is helping to bridge the real-time marketing conundrum. Whilst established brands certainly benefit from having million pound budgets, enabling them to partner with FIFA, this does not automatically equate to winning audience moments. Audiences have come to expect content that is timely, relevant and entertaining.
The World Cup is certainly testing brands’ ability to deliver on these expectations. The only way they can deliver is by shifting from a traditional campaign mentality in favour of a more agile approach.
Brands can no longer rest on their laurels. They must continually seek new ways to remain contextually relevant in an environment that is increasingly connected and fast-paced to ensure the brand not only lives but also thrives in the audiences’ world.
Stephen Wise is the Founder & Managing Director of Trigger Social. Follow him on Twitter.
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Last updated 24/06/2014