Eith Colin Grannell, senior vice-president for brand management, Visa Europe

What does an official association with the World Cup allow Visa to do with its brand messaging?

We use these global stories to drive preference for our brand. It gives us the opportunity to have a consistent message about our brand. We can talk about our products and service, talk directly to card members and the retailers. It’s such rich content.

What makes Visa choose the World Cup? Is it the sheer size of the event, or is it about the football?

We look for things that closely link with our brand. The World Cup is aspirational. It is about the team and the community. So we think that sits well against our financial services brand. It enables us to talk to our customers about something that they’re passionate about.

Do you take a consistent global or a more local approach when you speak to different territories about your association with the World Cup?

The concept allows us to market locally. When we are talking to the Italians we talk about the Italian team. Similarly, when we talk to the French we talk about the French football team.

There are many brands trying to benefit from football fever so how do you make sure your messages don’t get lost among the noise of other brands’ communications?

It’s a very different sponsorship to our Olympic sponsorship because there are so many sponsors associated with football in general, like shirt sponsors, for example. We make what we do global and start as early as we think we can with messaging. Our FIFA ad campaign was probably one of the first to go out. We will make sure we sustain the activity right the way through to the finals, keeping it as up-to-date and as topical as we can. We try to make the rewards and benefits of our association as compelling as possible.

How will you measure the success of your World Cup association?

Awareness is important to us, but it’s not the complete end game for us. What we’re doing is to try to drive preference for our brand, getting customers to use their cards more in place of cash and cheques. There are wider measurements and awareness is only one thing. We have measurements around branding. We’ll measure the impact around the promotions – in terms of the message and the take-up of the promotions.



The supermarket strategy for the England fans

As fans settle down to watch the FIFA World Cup from the comfort of their sofas, supermarkets are in competition with each other to provide food and drink supplies to get people through the highs and lows of the tournament.

The official supermarket of the England Team, Tesco, is hoping that the party spirit, coupled with its access to the three lions logo will get more customers through its automatic doors. David Potts, retail and logistics director at the supermarket, claims: “The three lions will become synonymous with Tesco.”

It is planning a wide range of activities to capitalise on this official football association, and is expecting to sell more televisions and food and drink. It will also be selling official England merchandise during the tournament.

It has already launched a promotion for Match Attax trading cards that it hopes will become the big collectible of this World Cup. It will also include footballing legends in its trading card packs. It launched ahead of Morrisons’ promotion of its partnership with Panini stickers and trading cards.

Like others, Tesco has launched a digital site to promote its association with football legends. People can vote for their favourite legend on the site. It is also using food and drink to get to the heart of England fans. From last week it was selling food branded with the St George’s flag. Potts says: “The public will be in the mood to party and our job is to make sure that everything they want and need can be found at Tesco”. England branded sandwiches and pizzas are being sold to further promote its partnership with the England football team.

Competitions with brand partners Coke, Mars and Walkers will enable Clubcard holders to enter a competition to win VIP trips and entertainment systems every time they buy one of the associated products, and Potts adds that this initiative will help keep the momentum going as the tournament approaches.

Even the footballers’ wives will be getting involved in the supermarket’s push to promote the World Cup in-store. Alex Gerrard (Steven Gerrard’s wife) and “friends” have designed a new Bag For Life which will launch in May. This will coincide with the launch of England merchandise and the supermarket is hoping that fans will flock to the stores to snap up flags and branded shirts.

It faces competition from Morrisons, the official sponsor of the 2018 bid, and Asda, as its parent Wal-Mart is the official supermarket of the World Cup. But Tesco is hoping that it will score the winning goal during the World Cup, to be the supermarket of choice for England fans.

World Cup Facts:

The official website FIFAworldcup.com registered 4.2 billion page views during the previous World Cup, more than double the traffic in 2002.

The FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany was watched by 26 billion people across the globe. That amounts to total coverage of more than 73,000 hours, which equates to a television channel broadcasting 24/7 for over eight years.

It is estimated that official World Cup association costs up to £30m.

The last tournament attracted 18,850 journalists accredited from around the world – 4,250 print journalists; 1,200 photographers; and 13,400

TV and radio representatives.

FIFA World Cup sponsors include: Castrol, Budweiser, Continental, McDonald’s and MTN.

FIFA Partners are: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Visa, Emirates and Sony.