World Cup: More than just a game for brands
24 July 2018

Sport is more than just a game for brands

As the dust settles on another World Cup we reflect on some fantastic campaigns that captured the feeling and inspired fans all over the world. Let’s look at the path to a marketing win and how brands can leverage sporting events to add brand value.

“Sport has the power to unite people,” Gareth Southgate

Sport captures the imagination of the country and unites people from all walks of life. It has a ready-made captive audience for brands to engage, so there’s plenty of action to get in on. It’s no longer just about watching games in the pub with your mates. The conversation online has become even more important, providing a great opportunity to join in discussions with customers and enhance brand image.

There are a few foundation considerations to take into account when planning to leverage any national, sporting or even seasonal event:

• Communication or marketing activity must be authentic
• Conversations should focus on the event first and foremost
• Maintain a logical link – people see through tenuous attempts
• Videos, memes and GiFs have taken over – Twitter retweets increase by 35% when photos are used and retweets increase by 28% when videos are used
• Avoid building a campaign around one athlete or team winning – they might not win, making any pre-prepared content irrelevant

Events like the World Cup give marketers a chance to flex their creative muscles when faced with tough competition and sponsor restrictions. But it’s not always the sponsors who achieve the best results. Interestingly, Nike came out on top despite Adidas being the official tournament sponsor. It was an all Nike wearing final.

Tapping into social conversations

According to Twitter’s own insights, there were 115 billion Tweet impressions during the World Cup, with fans tweeting the most during the final.

Nike was included in the top five brands for the best social media engagement during the tournament, behind Ikea, Amazon and Adidas, according to MediCom North. Official sponsor Budweiser claimed the top spot thanks to its #ManoftheMatch content. The campaign included post-match video interviews with players and fans to tweeted their man of the match during each game. It brought fans closer to the action and created a sense of involvement and emotional investment in the games. In total, Budweiser achieved 55,000 Twitter mentions, well ahead of Ikea’s 35,000 mentions. Twitter also revealed @Budweiser as the most talked about brand on Twitter during the tournament.

Planning makes perfect

Fortunately, sporting events are scheduled far in advance, giving brands plenty of time to think ahead. Planning is key to ensure brands make the most of the occasion. Create close associations with values and connect with the hearts and minds of the fans. Well-timed and prepared content can result in a significant increase in engagement.

What was your favourite brand campaign during this years’ World Cup?