With the World Cup Underway, Brands Embrace Global Football Frenzy

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After years of preparations and qualifying tournaments, the World Cup is finally here. And soon it will be clear if the new stadiums can handle the crowds, whether Spain can reclaim the Cup, and what brands will claim the marketing crown.  

With the first day of the tournament, which kicks off with hometown favorite Brazil facing Croatia, comes a renewed effort from brands to get their names in front of the millions of fans watching across the globe. And why not? The first game ball has just barely begun to roll down the field and already Unruly Media has concluded that World Cup ads have outperformed those surrounding the Super Bowl. 

While World Cup engagement levels online are through the roof, it all may come crashing down if hacker group Anonymous succeeds in its threat to compromise sponsors’ websites. According to SC Magazine, the group has defaced eight World Cup websites and disrupted another. The attacks are focused on government and sponsor websites to “protest the lavish spending on the soccer games in a country struggling to provide basic services,” Reuters reports.[more]

Still, sponsors aren’t letting the threat slowdown their marketing train. Official sponsor Visa announced its program to help connect people from 104 countries. The opening ad of the campaign, “United in Rivalry,” features “the world’s most peaceful people”—Nobel Peace Prize laureates—getting pretty energized about the World Cup. 

Visa’s dedicated World Cup microsite “will use more than 60 videos along with interactive tools to engage with viewers, while also customizing content and programs based on individual interests and affinities.” Some of Visa’s efforts to engage fans will involve video from 32 filmmakers from each team’s nation to show how their country celebrates the Cup; 11 other cultural thought leaders who will create films during the Cup itself; and the ability for fans to place their own images into FIFA-inspired events.

And while McDonald’s may be the official food sponsor of the Cup, rival Burger King is taking advantage of the soccer frenzy. A new campaign is offering free Whoppers to anyone who comes into a Burger King wearing the jersey of a team that is playing a game at that time. 

Google is also showing its soccer spirit by paying homage to the event with a World Cup-themed Google Doodle on its homepage. It has also released a video that utilizes Google Maps imagery to take viewers on a global journey to all 12 of the World Cup stadiums. 

With the opening match underway, fans can really catch the spirit of the crowd thanks to Harkable’s World Cup listening app, which can track how loud each stadium is during games.

So do you have futbol fever yet? They do in space!

• Connect with Mark on Twitter: @markjmill

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