The countdown to Brazil 2014 officially begins on Friday (6 December) when the draw is made for the group stages of the tournament. Brands are putting the final touches to their campaigns and are planning to use technology to try and give fans ownership of the tournament.
The phrase “the first social media World Cup” was used to describe the 2010 tournament in South Africa. However, while that contest saw sponsors bolster their TV campaigns with social media promotions, the advent of digitally powered sponsorships in the years since, particularly in the wake of London 2012, is pushing marketers to try and deliver value beyond a traditional media buy.
Sponsors are hesitant to share specific activation plans seven months before the World Cup in Brazil. AB InBev owned Budweiser says fans will be “seeing a lot” of the brand from the draw onwards through promotions and is also putting internal processes in place to respond quickly to events around matches. Elsewhere, Adidas is ramping up online activity for the official tournament ball and several national team kits it is supplying.
It is understood sponsors are using what they learned from their efforts around this year’s Confederations Cup in Brazil to become more tactical in how they adapt their wider strategies to specific timezones. For example, marketers are said to be developing campaigns that put their brands at the heart of evening social occasions and family gatherings in the UK and other European markets after the majority of matches from the last two tournaments were held at earlier times of the day.
James Hough, managing director at Mediacom Sport UK, which is working with World Cup brands on their strategies, says: “Sponsors are looking at how they can offer value rewards to fans to try and sell products. There are going to be certain hashtags and influencers that brands use to drive dual screen interactions around the event. Brands need have a plan in place so that they can enhance the fan experience beyond the viewing of games.”
Rob Sellers, director at shopper marketing agency Dialogue, which is working with brands on how they can activate around the World Cup in-stores, says: ”Just because brands have the opportunity to be part of a conversation, it doesn’t mean that they will gain anything other than awareness. The World Cup is a significant consumption driver for many categories, and brands need to make sure they are making the most of that. Sponsor or non-sponsor, brands need to engage shoppers where and when they are actually making a purchase.”