The World Cup has absorbed international attention for the past few weeks. After a nail-biting match for England against Colombia on Tuesday night, and an eventual victory on historically-dreaded penalties, attention now turns to the quarter finals and the remaining weeks of the tournament. Whether or not football is your thing, marketers are weighing in on the high and lows of World Cup advertising and how brands have fared in the beautiful game that is marketing.
Here are three World Cup marketing campaigns that have caught commentators’ attention.
You may be forgiven for thinking that top of any marketer’s World Cup list would be Nike, Adidas or even the likes of Coca-Cola. Yet, according to Marketing Week, the relatively unknown US shopping app Wish has outshone these sporting heavyweights.
Marketing Week pointed to data from research company System1, which ‘monitored how thousands of UK consumers responded to 28 different World Cup ads by getting them to register their emotional responses.’ The adverts ‘were then weighted for business effect and given a score of between one and five stars based on ROI growth.’
Using this approach, System1 was able to demonstrate that the Wish campaign, called ‘Time On Your Hands,’ was ‘a good ad with the potential for reasonable long-term brand growth.’ The ad used football personalities from countries that didn’t qualify for the World Cup to create a series of humorous and good-natured storylines which quickly caught viewers’ attention. System1 argued that Wish employed ‘humour, patriotic sentiment and excitement to achieve emotional resonance with consumers,’ and in doing so outshone other brands who usually dominate football marketing.
Mastercard committed a marketing faux pas with the release of its ‘Goals for Meals’ campaign, attracting commentators’ attention for all the wrong reasons.
According to an opinion piece by The Drum contributor, Jake Dubbins, Mastercard’s campaign was ‘a truly awful example of a marketing department briefing a campaign that had to include their ‘Priceless’ brand positioning, their key ‘influencers’ […] and brand purpose.’ The campaign promised ‘for each goal scored by Messi or Neymar Jr, 10,000 children will receive a meal,’ but was quickly labelled tone deaf given the frequently high wages paid to international football stars.
Mastercard eventually had to withdraw the campaign following a public backlash, but the damage had already been done. Commentators were quick to latch on to the campaign, with some using Mastercard’s own tagline against them by tweeting that the move was "a PR own goal. Priceless."
Itaú is far from a household name, yet according AdWeek their World Cup advert has been ranked as the most-viewed on YouTube, beating Nike, Pepsi and Gatorade to the spot.
YouTube determined the top ten adverts by factoring in organic and paid views, watch time and audience retention in the build-up to the World Cup. YouTube limited its World Cup leader board to one ad per brand, noting that the ten ads accumulated 125 million minutes of watch time and 83 million views combined.
Itaú, a Brazilian bank and the official sponsor of the Brazilian football team, released its advert ‘Mostra Tua Força, Brasil’ using the hashtag #issomudaojogo (roughly translated as ‘this changes the game’) and has reached almost 44 million views on YouTube. The video combined three high profile Brazilian musicians from a variety of genres to capture the attention of World Cup fans and still-smarting Brazilians disappointed by their 2014 defeat.
For better or worse, these three brands have caught the attention of marketing commentators and the public alike to generate huge viewing figures, strong ROI and sometimes unwanted attention. With two more weeks to go of the World Cup, brands will be seeking to capitalise on the momentum the tournament has generated and reap some social capital from their campaigns.