England’s squad revealed through video starring nation’s youth: The World Cup 2018 blog

Welcome to Marketing Week’s 2018 FIFA World Cup blog, a chance to catch up on all the latest brand and sponsorship news in the run up to the tournament.

16 May – England’s World Cup squad revealed through quirky video starring nation’s youth

The Football Association has revealed its England squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup through a short video featuring some of the nation’s young football fans.

In a short video created by Wieden + Kennedy London and directed by Dan Emerso, football-mad youngers from across the nation reveal which 23 footballers – chosen by manager Gareth Southgate – will don the Three Lions jersey this summer.

Shot on location in Wembley and throughout towns and cities in England, the video features young players from grassroots teams such as Moorside Rangers in Manchester and Sheffield Wednesday Ladies U16s, paying homage to their own local idols.

England’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Squad:

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope.

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Fabian Delph, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young.

Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck.

Stand-by: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livemore and Adam Lallana.

The squad will begin training at St. George’s Park from Monday (21 May) ahead of pre-tournament internationals against Nigeria at Wembley Stadium and Costa Rica at Elland Road. EL

11 May – ITV asks fans to forget past disappointment and glory and focus on the ‘now’

ITV has kicked off its promo campaign for the World Cup with a TV spot that asks football fans to forget past disappointment and glories and instead focus on the possibility this year’s competition offers.

The 60-second ad, created by its in-house agency ITV Creative, includes moments from past World Cups including Diego Maradona’s Hand of God in the 1986 quarter-final between England and Argentina and Paul Gascoigne’s tears at Italia 1990, as well as England’s victory in 1966. But instead of focusing on them, it encourages fans to look ahead at what could happen in Russia, with the aim of building up hype and momentum for what ITV believes will be “the most unpredictable World Cup in decades”.

Ed Ross, head of marketing at ITV, says: “Every World Cup, we head in with this huge level of expectation, always talking about the past, about great moments, about frustrating moments and about the best summer in 1966 English football has ever had. This time, we want to galvanise the nation by asking football fans all around the country to forget the whole history or joy and pain, because all that matters is now.”

ITV will be showing a number of the games this year, including the opening game and England’s match with Belgium. The World Cup is of major importance to ITV, with the free-to-air broadcaster expecting net advertising to jump by 15% in June and total advertising to be up 2% over the first half.

But how well England do will be of key importance to ITV, with new figures from Oath suggesting that a quarter of UK viewers will switch off when (if?) the team is knocked out. SV

11 May – New Balance launches Russian-inspired collection

New Balance is launching a limited edition Russian-inspired football and lifestyle collection ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Donned the ‘Otruska Pack’, the collection includes both footwear and apparel and was created alongside agency ZAK.

The sportswear giant says the collection is both “striking and unconventional” and has a “distinctive Russian feel”.  It includes two new boots, the Furon 4.0 and the Tekela, which will be worn by New Balance sponsored players at the World Cup.

To celebrate the launch, New Balance has released two lead launch films depicting the contrasting forces of idealistic Russian beauty and portentous Soviet power that make up ‘Dusha’ – the Russian Soul.

General manager at New Balance football, Kenny McCallum, says: “New Balance is excited to introduce a Russia-inspired football and lifestyle pack, bridging style and performance. ZAK have been absolutely central to developing the Otruska campaign, bringing to life the inspiration behind the product pack, and the 360 degree digital campaign that aims to tell that story.” EL

10 May – Budweiser unveils FIFA World Cup campaign

Budweiser is launching its biggest ever global campaign for this year’s World Cup. Titled ‘Light up the FIFA World Cup’, it aims to “encapsulate the unparalleled euphoric energy of the world’s biggest sporting event” with a TV ad and experiential activity.

For fans in the UK, noise-activated red light cups will feature at Budweiser viewing parties and events, and in special Budweiser packs in Asda stores nationwide, as well as being available via on-pack competitions.

Other UK activations include a chatbot named The ‘Bud Bot’ as well as The Bud Boat.

The Bud Bot’s intention is to provide relationships between consumers and Budweiser over the course of the tournament. It will offer fans the opportunity to vote for the official ‘Man of the Match’, enter once-in-a-lifetime competitions, signpost Budweiser-stocking bars and stores, plus offer home deliveries of Budweiser to enjoy with mates whilst watching the game.

Meanwhile, The Bud Boat will be a place for fans from all over the UK to watch the FIFA World Cup. EL

10 May – Comedians star in football-related campaign for Currys PC World 

Currys PC World’s new multi-million pound campaign stars comedians Mark Watson and Omid Djalil and is built around a series of five videos celebrating this year’s summer of football.

The tongue-in-cheek videos show the two comedians putting their own twist on traditional football commentating as customers search for their perfect TV in-store. A number of quirky characters also feature in the series, including an energetic couple zorb-footballing around the store, a duo of warring mascots, a noise-loving superfan and a pair of cheeky streakers.

Currys PC says the campaign is designed to showcase the expertise of its staff while highlighting a major promotion where one in every 20 customers purchasing a television over 55 inches will get their money back.

Designed to capture the excitement ahead of a football-filled summer, the campaign kicked off yesterday (9 May), with a series of TV ads before appearing in press, social media and out-of-home. The ‘Get Your TV For Free’ promotion is running until 26 June.  

The videos were developed in-house by 1000heads and will be shared through Currys PC World’s social channels on TV and through two “disruptive” out-of-home installations which are still under wraps. EL

10 May – Stars Group launches Freddie Flintoff into space for biggest World Cup betting promo ever

Online gambling company The Stars Group, which owns PokerStars, BetStars and PokerStars Casino, has launched a six-week campaign to promote its £100m World Cup Challenge.

As part of the challenge, the company is inviting viewers to enter (for free) and predict the results of this summer’s 64 World Cup games as they try their luck at pocketing up to £100m prize money.

The campaign features cricket legend Freddie Flintoff who has been transformed into a tacky human billboard and catapulted into space alongside the slogan ‘You see Freddie, the prize is the star, not you’.

The contest is open to adults in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland

“When we decided to launch the biggest betting promotion in history, we thought about hiring the biggest star in the world to be the face of the Stars £100 million Challenge, but there isn’t a star that’s big enough so we got Freddie Flintoff,” jokes Christopher Coyne, CMO at Stars Interactive Group. EL

8 May – Coca-Cola to sponsor interactive football cup


Coca-Cola has partnered with Electronic Arts to launch the Russian Interactive Football Cup as an official qualifying competition for its FIFA eWorld Cup 2018.

The deal was brokered by eSports’ consulting company VY ESports and is designed to harness the enthusiasm for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

During the Russian Interactive Football Cup, players, fans and celebrities will participate in various online and live eSports events leading up to the FIFA World Cup. The first stage of the Russian Interactive Football Cup will feature a series of online and offline qualifying events and professional FIFA footballers are invited to join in.

During the next stage of competition 64 players will progress to the final which will be held at Yota Arena, one of the world’s largest eSports venues located in Moscow. And the final sage will be broadcast across multiple platforms in order to reach esports fans on a global scale.

According to VY Esports, the company will create branded content around the Russian Cup including player stories, game highlights and recap shows. Broadcast partners for the Cup finals include Russia’s largest social networks VK.com and Odnoklassniki.

This partnership builds on Coca-Cola’s longstanding connection to both the sport of football, through its sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup and grassroots programs like Copa Coca-Cola, and the fast-growing world of esports. EL

4 May – Paddy Power brings its own World Cup to London

Paddy Power is bringing its own version of the World Cup to London this Summer. Donned the CONIFA World Football Cup, the Irish Bookmaker says the tournament is designed for teams outside the international elite.

CONIFA is the confederation of independent football associations – representing the “rebels and wildcards” of world football which they say “FIFA refuses to recognise”.

Their version of the World Cup will kick off in London on 31 May, with competing teams including Tibet, the Zimbabwean region of Matabeleland and the Isle of Man. The organisation’s newest member is Yorkshire, which officially became a country when they were recognised by the body in January.

To promote the tournament, Paddy Power has released its first ever documentary series to be scripted, shot, produced and edited entirely in-house. In the first installment, Paddy Power travels to Tibet to meet its team, monks, and even the president.

The series will be updated weekly in the build-up to the kick-off of CONIFA and can be seen online.

“We love the idea of a tournament which represents the underdog, and sticks one up FIFA. English fans have little or no incentive to go to Russia, so we thought we’d give them an alternative right on the doorstep,” a spokesperson for Paddy Power says. EL

4 May – LG reveals ‘Live The Game’ campaign

LG Electronics, the official partner of the England senior men’s team and the Football Association (FA), has unveiled a £5m campaign ahead.

The electronics giant’s ‘Live The Game’ campaign aims to promote the company’s new range of OLED AI TVs through a series of videos featuring past, present and future England stars. They are seen watching a number of big games including the England vs Germany clash in 1990, England vs Slovakia 2018 and England vs Venezuela 2017 on the new LG TVs.

The series captures the real conversations between the three players as they ‘Live the Game’ and reveal how they felt in the big moments. The campaign will be distributed through publisher The Telegraph via a bespoke hub and across all its football channels (video, social, digital display and print), as well as through LG and FA-owned networks.

Additionally the company is also launching a multi-million pound TV and digital campaign that will run through May and June during key sporting moments across ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. The ‘Live the Game’ campaign will also include the brand’s first sponsored moment on Twitter. EL

1 May – Gatorade uses football stars in its biggest ever global campaign

Football greats Lionel Mess and Luis Suárez will star in Gatorade’s biggest ever global campaign titled ‘Everything Changes’.

The campaign focuses on the shift that takes place when football club teammates become rivals. For instance, the TV advertisement tells the story of FC Barcelona players, Messi and Suárez. Initially they are best friends and train together until it’s time to play against each other. While their respective objectives change, fuelling themselves with Gatorade does not.

The integrated campaign also features Brazilian superstar and Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus and will run in several Latin American countries, Western EuropeAsiaMexico, and the US across TV, print, digital, social media and point-of-sale.

Gatorade Football Energy was produced for players from amateur to professional levels and has a combination of carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluid, specifically for football players. EL

1 May – Dominos teams up with Sky Sports News

Dominos is teaming up with Sky Sports News in a bid to target hungry viewers. The deal, an extension of its ‘Official Food of Everything’ strategy, is designed to be relevant to all ‘pizza purchasing triggers’ – including pre-live Premier League football, Box Office boxing and of course, during the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer.

Multiple creative executions have been developed by VCCP tailored to the important sporting moments featuring tag lines such as ‘The Official Food of Seriously Fancy Footwork’, ‘The Official Food of Watching Your Team Win Again’ and ‘The Official Food of Not Another Manager?!’. 

Nearly seven million sports fans tune into Sky Sports News every month. The campaign was brokered by Arena Media and will run from today until 31 December.

23 April – Mars Wrigley Confectionery launches ‘The Sweepstake’ to entice football fans

Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK is launching an on-pack promotion in the run up to the World Cup, offering consumers the chance to win millions of prizes, including products and cash, as part of its tie-up with the England football team

‘The Sweetstake’ will run across 11 brands, including Mars, Maltesers, Skittles and Starbursts. More than 100 million promotional packs will hit shelves this week and every pack purchased will give consumers entry to the draw. Shoppers will need to enter the unique code found inside the pack to see if they have won a prize.

“Rooted in cutting-edge shopper and consumer insight, we’re confident The Sweetstake can, with a £1.2m media spend, drive growth across the category, boost sales for retailers, and provide consumers with a way to enjoy football even more with Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK’s blockbuster brands,” says Mars brand director Katie Walland. EL

19 April – More than half of World Cup fans are brand conscious

With less than two months to go until the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia, data technology company GlobalWebIndex asked more than 34,000 fans about brand consciousness and loyalty, as well as their engagement with ads and insights regarding the event’s main sponsors.

The study finds 54% of FIFA World Cup fans claim to be brand-conscious, while 63% are loyal to brands once they have engaged with them. In the UK specifically, just 34% of fans are brand-conscious, compared to 59% in Latin America and 49% for both US fans and those in host country Russia.

The World Cup sponsors most popular among fans are stalwarts such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Adidas, according to GlobalWebIndex. Nearly a third (32%) of those surveyed consume Coca-Cola globally and more than half (57%) visit a McDonald’s at least once a month.

McDonald’s also takes the title of ‘favourite fast food chain’ among World Cup fans, followed by KFC (59%) and Pizza Hut (42%). Meanwhile, four in 10 World Cup fans have bought an Adidas product over the past two years. EL

19 April – Zlatan Ibrahimović becomes the face of Visa’s World Cup campaign

Zlatan Ibrahimović is the new face of Visa’s global marketing campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Visa, an official FIFA partner for this year’s event, says the collaboration with Ibrahimović will help ensure fans do not miss a moment of the action this summer.

The Swedish footballer says he’s “incredibly proud” to work with the payment firm. “I always try to be the best in football, so a partnership with Visa represents what I continue to strive to be—the best.”

Ibrahimović has played for nine teams across England, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the US, and has 33 trophies to his name.

“We have always been aware of Zlatan’s impressive on-field accomplishments, global appeal and colourful personality,” says Visa’s chief marketing and communications officer Lynne Biggar.

“At Visa, we are thrilled to partner with Zlatan to bring our FIFA World Cup campaign and product innovation to life and connect with fans around the globe, showing once again Visa is ‘Everywhere You Want To Be’.” EL

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