Brands catch World Cup fever as England prepares for semi-final: 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.

11 July – Brands catch World Cup fever as England prepares for semi-final

Brands are jumping on the success of the England team as the country prepares for the semi-final showdown with Croatia this evening. A number of advertisers have taken out spots in print and are running campaigns on social media.

Chief among those is Marks & Spencer, which has been highlighting the fact it is the official tailor of the England team after fans jumped on the fact that England coach Gareth Southgate has been wearing a waistcoat on the sidelines. The retailer says demand for waistcoats is up 35%, and it has run print ads and a social campaign, as well as digital outdoor ads at Wembley Stadium where it held its AGM yesterday.

Keeping with the waistcoat theme, Sure is celebrating what it dubs Southgate’s “miraculously dry armpits” with a tongue-in-cheek print ad that claims responsibility. The ad features cans mocked up to resemble the manager’s outfit, along with the line “Waistcoat? Blue shirt? No sweat, gaffer.”

Sure World Cup ad

Away from the waistcoats, supermarkets have been getting in on the action, offering the usual deals on beers and food safe in the knowledge millions will be tuning in to watch the match this evening.

Iceland 'It's Coming Home'

Some have gone one step further, however, with Aldi, Lidl and Iceland all promising to shut early on Sunday if England make it to the final so their staff can enjoy the match. Iceland is also celebrating with a paint job on its delivery vans to include the famous Baddiel and Skinner lyrics ‘It’s Coming Home’.

5 July – NHS Blood and Transplant enlists former England goalkeepers to help ‘save England’ through blood donation

NHS Blood and Transplant has enlisted the help of two former England goalkeepers to encourage more men to give blood.

England’s two most capped goalkeepers, Peter Shilton and David Seaman, are calling on the nation to ‘Save England’ off the pitch by donating blood. The former players feature in a film taking on young players, with the hope of inspiring people to give blood.

Male donors are particularly needed, with men able to donate more frequently because their blood contains more iron. However, two-thirds of new donors are women.

There is also a need for specific blood types – O negative, B negative and black donors with the rare subtype Ro. Stocks of these groups tend to fall at certain times of the year, including summer, bank holidays and Christmas.

David Seaman says: “We want everyone to know that they can save the people around them. It can’t be overemphasised how important each donation is. Therefore, please support your country in a way that can make you the heroes off the pitch.”

To find out if you can donate, register to donate, and book an appointment visit

29 June – The National Care for Domestic Violence releases harrowing World Cup campaign


The charity National Care for Domestic Violence is running an ad campaign, created by J Walter Thompson, highlighting the link between football and violence.

The campaign features a series of disturbing images of women’s faces covered in blood and depicting England, Japan and Switzerland’s flags. For example, the England poster shows a woman who has blood running down her nose that travels over her lips, meaning it takes the shape of St George’s flag.

It was made in response to disturbing statistics which reveal that when England play a World Cup match reports of domestic violence increase 26%, rising to 38% when England lose. The campaign is titled ‘The Not So Beautiful Games’ and images across running across print, online and out of home. EL

READ MORE: The jarring campaign shines a light on the casualties of the World Cup fever

29 June – PizzaExpress launches augmented reality World Cup mobile game

PizzaExpress has launched a World Cup campaign titled ‘Doughball’, an augmented reality mobile game that involves placing a mini football net on the table in front of the player who can then attempt to score as many goals as possible in 60 seconds.

Players move their mobile devices to aim and swipe upward to shoot all while attempting to dodge the Doughball goal keeper. PizzaExpress says the game can be played solo or with fellow diners.

Timothy Love, senior marketing manager at PizzaExpress, says: “We are always looking at ways we can improve our customers’ experiences and drive engagement at the table. This may not be the first time we’ve delighted diners with our games, but it is the first time a UK restaurant has used augmented reality gaming in their own app. We hope it brings an exciting and innovative dimension to the PizzaExpress dining experience.”

The campaign was produced in partnership with creative agency Holdens and is available on iOS and Android as part of a free update to the PizzaExpress app. EL

28 June – McDonald’s and Google partner-up to target hungry Hong Kong locals

McDonald’s is using Google’s real-time trigger technology to deliver ads just as football fans in Hong Kong might be feeling a little bit peckish.

The campaign, created alongside media agency OMD, will show viewers McDonald’s ads around key moments such as a goal or the final whistle – known as the “hungry moments” and when fans are traditionally most excited.  It’s designed to promote McDonald’s home delivery service ‘McDelivery’.

“The team has done an amazing job to use the learnings accumulated through our data management platform to deliver the most relevant messaging during such a big event for real business results,” says McDonald’s Hong Kong marketing vice president Agnes Lung.

OMD is also using a data management platform which collects insights such as favourite menu items to ensure its delivering personalised and targeted ads. EL

READ MORE: Celebrating a World Cup goal? You must be hungry so here’s a burger ad

26 June – World Cup and Father’s Day boost grocery sales

Promotions around the World Cup and Father’s Day helped to drive a +1.5% increase in grocery sales over the last four weeks, according to the latest data from Nielsen.

27% of all grocery value sales came from special offers around the World Cup. Branded beverages in particular were heavily promoted with 43% being sold on promotion. In the week ending 16 June, sales of gin and tonic water rose +46% and +21% respectively, as did colas and flavoured carbonates, up +5% and +4%.

For Father’s Day, 15% of households claimed to buy extra items, compared with 19% for Mother’s Sunday, making it the seventh most-celebrated event and on a par with Valentine’s Day. The week ending 16 June also saw an uplift in gifting categories such as DVD/BluRay (+9%), spirits (+6%), rotisserie chicken (+6%) and greetings cards (+6%).

Over the twelve weeks ending 16 June, Asda had the most improved year-on-year sales growth of the top four supermarkets (+2.7%) followed by Co-operative (+2.1%), displaying the trend towards convenience. Iceland had the best growth figures overall (+3.4%), outside of the discounters.

In light of Tesco’s announcement that it will be moving away from its brand guarantee, Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer insight, says simpler pricing is a trend that will continue to benefit shoppers.

“Shoppers are benefiting from simpler pricing strategies, easier to understand promotions and overall everyday low prices,” Watkins says.

“Tesco’s commitment to replace their Brand Guarantee in a few weeks’ time follows this trend we see across the industry and similar decisions taken by Sainsbury’s and Morrisons some time ago.” EH

22 June – Coca-Cola hosts augmented reality football experience

Coca-Cola is hosting a football-theme augmented reality experience to help spark World Cup fever among fans in Switzerland.

As part of the campaign participants will experience first-hand what it’s like to play alongside Swiss football sensation Xherdan Shaqiri. Contestants will then be prompted to get a photo with Shaqiri before entering their details for a chance to win a FIFA World Cup official match ball.

The campaign was created by Top-Spot and produced alongside Grand Visual which put together the creative technology set-up.

“Coca-Cola Switzerland is pleased to offer a new type of experience for football fans. It’s the perfect way to get people into a perfect football mood right at the beginning of the FIFA World Cup 2018,” Robert Percze, senior brand manager for Coca-Cola Switzerland says.

The experience is taking place today (22 June) at Zurich’s main train station. EL

22 June – Papa John’s teams up with Sky Sports commentators

Papa John’s has teamed up with Sky Sports commentators Chris Kamara and Jeff Stelling for its latest campaign which aims to demonstrate that pizza can calm an anxious nation in the midst of World Cup fever.

The company says it plans to achieve this by deflecting viewers’ attention to pizza.

Produced alongside creative agency Cygnus, the campaign titled ‘Keep Calm and Kammy On’ features Kamara and fellow pundit Stelling sitting in the lounge watching live football, while re-enacting typical scenarios that will be seen in living rooms across the nation during the tournament.

When Stelling becomes “emotionally charged” during the match, Kamara becomes a calming influence as he becomes transfixed on a Papa John’s pizza deal.

The campaign will appear across social, in-store activity, radio and TV. EL

20 June – The Sun unveils World Cup campaign

The Sun has rolled out its World Cup campaign to mark the launch of its new online World Cup Hub.

Created by Pulse Creative and The&Partnership, the video campaign claims to be a “loud, proud ode to the UK’s love of football”, and will run across social, digital display, press, email and events for the duration of the tournament.

Features of The Hub include news from the England camp, videos, a dedicated fan zone and daily quizzes. EM

18 June – Budweiser launches sound-activated Snapchat lens

Budweiser is one the beer brands owned by AB InBev.

Budweiser has joined forces with Snapchat to create a sound-activated lens that will capture the noise of football fans and react in real-time.

The augmented reality filter will feature a unique trigger that lets Snapchatters aged 18 and take part.

The lens will launch in the UK today (18 June) during England’s opening match against Tunisia, which kicks off at 7pm. Consumers will get another chance to use the lens on 24 June, when Snap Ads will prompt users worldwide to swipe up and access the lens during England’s second match against World Cup debutante, Panama.

During England’s last group match against Belgium on 28 June, fans will also get the chance to virtually join the team line-up on the pitch ahead of the game in another element called Snapabbles.

Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the World Cup, says its branded reactive filters will also be available in the Snapchat camera during selected World Cup games, so that fans can capture their excitement before kick-off. EL

15 June – Budweiser promises free beer if England win World Cup

Budweiser is promising to give a free beer to every adult of legal drinking age in England – if the team wins the 2018 World Cup.

The company says it is committed to rewarding football fans’ support and the campaign is backed by former England captain Steven Gerrard, Budweiser’s official World Cup ambassador.

In order to claim a free Bud if England wins, anyone over 18 who lives in England can to register as a fan. They will be informed if and when the offer goes live, as well as where to claim their free beverage.

“Everyone is rooting for the boys out in Russia, and it’s important that the fans are recognised for the part they play in the team’s success. Free beer for the nation is a great reward for everyone who brings the country closer together in big sporting moments like this and inspire England to go that extra-mile,” Gerrard says. EL

14 June – McDonald’s celebrates highs and lows of being a football fan

McDonald’s is celebrating the emotional journey football fans will go on during the FIFA World Cup by telling supporters ‘We’re with you’.

Created in partnership with Leo Burnett London, the new campaign includes a 60-second ad that will be revealed today (14 June) – the first day of the tournament.

The campaign taps into the range of emotions fans experience and positions McDonald’s as a supporter of the supporters, which is symbolised by highlighting the way customers can order food – whether that’s via McDelivery, visiting a 24/7 restaurant, or picking up a meal via a Drive-Thru, as well as honouring McDonald’s breakfasts.

The ad shows football fans from a number of countries as they celebrate or commiserate during the tournament, all while interweaving moments that focus on the convenience of ordering McDonald’s wherever you may be.

McDonald’s has also created shorter, 10-second videos focusing on how it will be there for fans, as well as activity across print, out-of-home and point-of-purchase materials.

“The campaign spells out that, whatever happens in the football, McDonald’s has got the food covered. Whether with a breakfast for the early kick-off, or a McDelivery for when you’re watching at home, it’s clear that ‘We’re with you’ through all of it,” senior director of global brand at McDonald’s Steve Hill says.

McDonald’s is a long-standing FIFA sponsor. EL

14 June – The Economist’s World Cup campaign provides glimpse at what’s really going on within each participating nation

The Economist is going behind the scenes for its World Cup campaign, but not in the way you might imagine.

Rather than heading into the dressing rooms, the publication will be looking at the nations behind the teams, providing a detailed perspective on what is really going on within each of the participating countries.

The interactive, real-time campaign is designed to increase awareness among audiences in the UK, Europe and Latin America.

Live scores will be used throughout the event to develop dynamic creative ads that will feature on footballing websites. Depending on the result of each game, the ads will feature provocative lines that will lead globally curious football fans through to the publication’s content which relates directly to the participating nations.

Created alongside Proximity London, the campaign will feature across both display advertising and social media. It will run throughout the duration of the tournament. EL

14 June – Co-op launches football themed summer campaign


The Co-op is hoping to tap into World Cup fever as it kicks off its summer campaign with a footie focused ad.

Screened for the first time during ad breaks in Coronation Street and Love Island on Wednesday 13 June, the advert shows a group of friends cheering on their football team whilst enjoying the supermarket’s new pizza and beer super saver deal.

A continuation of the Co-op’s “year of eating together” strategy, the campaign will run throughout the World Cup across TV, outdoor, press and radio, before being followed by a barbecue themed ad in July.

The Co-op has also secured a deal with TalkSPORT to be featured during coverage of all 64 World Cup matches. The 10 second adverts, created by creative agency Forever Beta in collaboration with TalkSPORT, will highlight the supermarket retailer’s summer deals and products.

“With two thirds of the games being played during working/commuting hours, radio is a huge opportunity for us and we’re really excited about the partnership,” said Amanda Jennings, Co-op director of marketing communications.

“Summer is bigger than Christmas for us and we think our summer adverts encapsulate how our customers shops with us.” CR

13 June – Paddy Power to donate £10k to LGBT charities for every Russia goal

Paddy Power is pledging to donate £10,000 to LGBT charities for every goal scored by the 2018 World Cup’s host nation, Russia.

The bookmakers’ ‘Rainbow Russia’ campaign will be backed by high-profile LGBT advocates including ex-Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, Rugby Union’s Gareth Thomas and England cricketer Danni Wyatt.

The donations will aim to challenge LGBT prejudice on and off the field, support footballers to ‘come out’, fund educational programs in schools and colleges, as well as helping ensure grassroots teams are safe spaces for LGBT players.

Even if Russia doesn’t score five goals, Paddy Power is promising a minimum spend of £50,000.

The move is designed to challenge Russia’s anti-LGBTQ policies. EL

13 June – Auto Trader to give away free car for every England goal

Auto Trader is giving away a free car every time England score a goal in Russia as part of its World Cup campaign.

For a chance to win, the company is urging people to use the hashtag #AutoTraderGoals when posting to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram each time The Three Lions score during the first 90 minutes of a game. Viewers can also enter by registering their email address online at

The campaign will launch during England’s first match against Tunisia on Monday 18 June, and run across digital-out-of-home, print, radio, online, social media and branded content, as well as through a partnership with UNILAD.

“We wanted to bring to life the excitement of a brand-new car as it’s such a unique feeling. The cynics may not be optimistic about England’s chances but we’re genuinely hopeful for lots of goals and therefore plenty of new car winners,” says audience and brand director at Auto Trader, Lei Sorvisto.

“This campaign is a great disruptive opportunity for Auto Trader to inject some excitement into social for each England game – where everybody can share in the excitement – whether they’re a football fan or not.” EL

13 June – Domino’s celebrates staying at home during the World Cup with new social campaign

Domino’s has joined forces with former footballer and Soccer AM host Jimmy Bullard on a new social campaign positioning the pizza brand as ‘The Official Food of not Going to International Football Tournaments’.

Despite being called up to the England squad multiple times Bullard never actually broke through into the first team for an international match, the reason why Domino’s decided he would be the perfect fit for a campaign about staying at home and not travelling out to Russia.

Viewers will be able to see Jimmy chilling on his sofa, in his kitchen, ordering a Domino’s pizza in a series of documentary-style social videos.

“What Jimmy lacks in national team caps he more than makes up for in his ability to deliver deadpan lines to camera, and laugh at himself in the process,” says Tony Holdway, sales and marketing director at the Domino’s Pizza Group.

“A brilliant campaign with a fantastic front man, that we hope our customers will love as they watch the undoubted football highs and lows in the coming weeks.”

Created by VCCP, the tongue-in-cheek campaign will be promoted through a tie-up with sports community platform Sport Bible, as well as running across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. CR

12 June – World Cup sponsor revenue falls 10%

FIFA’s sponsor revenue declined by 10.8% from £1.21bn to £1.08bn between the 2014 World Cup sponsorship period that ran from 2011 to 2014 and the cycle leading up to the tournament in Russia this year, according to data from Nielsen Sports.

While the 2015-2018 sponsorship period has been a “tougher sell”, China is stepping in to fill the gap.

For instance, the nation’s largest commercial property company, the Wanda Group, has joined the likes of Coca-Cola and Adidas as one of FIFA’s seven top tier partners. And second tier sponsors include Hisense, Vivo and Mengniu – all Chinese brands.

According to Nielsen, Asian sponsors now account for 38% of World Cup 2018 deals, up from 20% in 2014, and between 2013 and 2017 China’s interest in football grew from 27% to 32%. EL

12 June – Ladbrokes’ World Cup campaign features Britain’s ‘biggest voice’

Ladbrokes has revealed its World Cup campaign, which features British personalities such as Brian Blessed talking up the benefits of betting with the bookmaker. Blessed, for example, is seen riding a Russian bear praising products such as ‘odds boost’ and Ladbrokes ‘get a price’

Alexis Zamboglou, marketing director for Ladbrokes, says: “Ladbrokes is a big, inclusive brand close to the hearts of all the nation’s bettors and gamers. Our new campaign not only promotes our great range of products but is also a real ‘call to play’ to customers’ existing and new in the homes, pubs and high streets across the land.”

The 40-second spot will air throughout the World Cup across TV, social media, in-store PoS and in press. EL

11 June – Nike gets one up on Adidas with ‘more emotionally engaging’ World Cup ad

The battle of the sportswear behemoths has already begun and its Nike who has earned a small victory over rival Adidas ahead of the World Cup.

According to data from tech company Realeyes, consumers find Nike’s Russia 2018 ad ‘Vai na Brasileiragem’ more emotionally engaging than Adidas’s spot ‘Create the Answer’.

Nike’s ad, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of its ‘Airport’ campaign, scored an overall ranking of five out of 10, meaning that it performs 42% better than the thousands of ads the company has already tested. Adidas’s campaign, which features the likes of Lionel Messi, David Beckham and Jose Mourinho, four out of 10.

Nike performed better after generating bigger spikes in emotional engagement, particularly during a scene referencing the a 1998 ad which featured former Brazilian striker Ronaldo. The ad was particularly popular with viewers younger than 29, who gave it an overall score of six out of 10.

The ad is also likely to boost the company’s brand and business metrics, with 48% of viewers saying they would be more likely to buy Nike’s products after watching the ad and more than half (52.7%) saying the video left them with a more favourable view of the company. For Adidas, 51% felt more favourable towards the brand and 47.7% more likely to buy its products.

“Our data shows that Nike already has an edge over Adidas, creating an ad that was more likely to get pulses racing. But neither really have really caught the imagination of consumers, with emotional engagement lower than in previous years,” says Realeyes CEO and co-founder Mihkel Jäätma.

“One possible reason for that is the way the ads have been put together. Our data shows that montages, particularly ones with fast edits, are less likely to emotionally engage audiences.”

Realeyes uses emotional facial recognition technology to test how emotionally engaging ads are. EL

7 June – Beats enlists Kane, Ozil and Neymar for its World Cup campaign

Beats by Dre has recruited four of football’s biggest stars and one of the world’s best-known film directors for its 2018 World Cup campaign.

Continuing the brand’s ‘Made Defiant’ campaign, the short film titled ‘Defiant Mixtape, volume 1′, follows the story of young Russian prodigy Andre who is dealing with local bullies. He is seen kicking a football around his kitchen when he’s sent outside to the play park by his mother.

The film then travels around the world, depicting the challenges that football greats Harry Kane, Mesut Özil, Benjamin Mendy and Neymar Jr faced in their journey to where they are today. The ad, which was directed by Guy Ritchie and narrated by Peaky Blinder star Paul Anderson, focuses on the notion of turning an obstacle into an opportunity.

The campaign is designed to promote Beats by Dre’s new ‘Decade Collection’, which the featured players are wearing throughout the film. EL

7 June – Umbro reveals how to write a ‘hit football anthem’

Sensing the potential impact having no official anthem could have on the England football squad, Umbro decided to team up with musician Brett Domino to create the ultimate guide to writing a hit football song.

Domino, the leader of the Brett Domino Trio and alter-ego of comedian Rob J Madin, guides the viewer through the key elements of creating a classic World Cup anthem, with the help of some comedy interventions from the Umbro team filling in the gaps in his football knowledge. The video ends with a reveal of Domino’s self-penned England anthem, shot in the style of his popular tongue-in-cheek YouTube videos.

Created by Manchester-based creative agency Love, the campaign will run across YouTube and Umbro’s social channels from 7-22 June. CR

7 June – World Cup to boost global ad spend by $2.4bn

The World Cup, which is set to get under way in Russia in a week’s time, will add $2.4bn to global ad spend this year, according to Zenith. In the UK, it will account for an extra £40m, taking into account both the extra money spent by advertisers seeking to reach World Cup audiences and reductions by advertisers looking to avoid this competitive period.

Zenith says the opportunities lie both in the size of the audience – typically 3.5 billion people from 200 countries tune in to watch – and the demographics, with the World Cup attraction young, upmarket and mobile consumers typically hard to reach on TV. There is also an opportunity in social media, as brands seek to join the conversations around the games, as well as in increased traffic to news and sports sites, more internet searches and higher sales of newspapers.

China is expected to see the biggest increase in dollar terms, with the World Cup generating $835m in extra ad spend, or 1% of the entire market. Host nation Russia will also benefit, seeing a $64m boost, equal to 2.1% of ad expenditure in 2018.

“The World Cup provides a reliable boost to the global ad market every four years, and will be responsible for 10% of all the growth in ad dollars this year,” says Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting and director of global intelligence. “This year’s tournament will showcase the brand-building powers of both traditional television and social media.” SV

7 June – Samsung signs up Thierry Henry for football inspired TV campaign

Thierry Henry

Samsung has enlisted the help of former Arsenal star and current Belgium national team assistant coach Thierry Henry to “add a touch of magic” to this summer’s football viewing experience.

The series of three adverts promoting Samsung’s range of QLED televisions talk up the benefits of Quantum dot technology, 4K resolution and 100% colour volume in improving fans’ enjoyment of football.

Running across Samsung’s digital channels throughout the summer, the adverts pose the question #WWTD (aka What Would Thierry Do?) His answer? “Do you need a big TV to watch football? No. But you want it…I know you do.” CR

6 June – Coca-Cola launches global World Cup campaign

Coca-Cola has unveiled its global FIFA World Cup campaign ‘Being Ready’, which has been two years in the making.

The campaign contains four TV ads, including ‘Stock Up’ to inspire football fans to purchase enough Coca-Cola before each match and ‘Ready For’, which sees Coke employees talk to the bottles and prepare them for the emotions they may experience during the World Cup.

The first ad, dubbed ‘Uplifted Alex’, sees the star of EA Sport’s FIFA ’18, Alex Hunter, sign a sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola to become the brand’s first virtual ambassador. Players of the game will be able to watch him shoot a commercial.

The campaign is supported by a special edition of Coca-Cola cans with the numbers 0 to 9 printed on them. The idea behind ‘Score Packaging’ is for fans to share predictions before each match with their friends on social media platforms. MF

6 June – UK toy market flourishes thanks to football fever

More than 6.6 million football-related toys and stickers have been sold since the beginning of 2018, with many sales attributed to World Cup fever.

In the UK alone, more than £11m has been spent on football, Premier League and FIFA World Cup-themed toys including Panini Moscow stickers, Match Attax and Trump Cards, according to global information company NPD Group.

In the week ending 19 May, £921,000 was spent on football-related toys – that’s almost £5,500 an hour – meaning one in eight toys sold in the UK during that week were football-related.

And when it comes to the European market as a whole, the UK, France and Belgium lead the way with £2.50 in every £100 spent on football-related toys. These three markets are followed by Germany (£1.70) and Spain (£1.20).

According to NPD Group, 24 million toys, cards and stickers were sold in the UK throughout the UEFA 2016 European Championship, equivalent to £26m in retail sales.

Frédérique Tutt, industry analyst for NPD Group’s toy division, says: “Sales of football-related toys almost double in Euro and World Cup years, showing just how important the sport is to the toy sector. This makes football unique in terms of its impact on toy sales as other regional and global sports competitions such as rugby, tennis and even the Olympics have yet to make a similar effect on sales.” EL

5 June – F&F and CALM join forces to promote male mental health awareness during World Cup

Tesco’s F&F clothing brand has partnered with charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to help raise awareness of male mental health in the UK ahead of the World Cup.

The #MarkYourMan campaign features CALM ambassador Romesh Ranganathan and comedian Rob Beckett, and is designed to encourage men to support each other through the good times and bad, just as they would their football team. The short online films will be pushed out on social media, encouraging men to open up and support each other, with further activity planned in print and retail.

It aims to highlight the contrast between the emotion men are able to show on the pitch while playing or in the stadium watching, compared to in real life. CALM research shows 84% of men bottle up their emotions.

Both comedians are wearing two-part t-shirts also created by F&F and creative agency ODD, which when put together, make one symbol of support.  The t-shirts are available for purchase until 1 August, with £1 from each sale donated to CALM.

“CALM do amazing work to build awareness and campaign for societal change in male communication and emotional support. They provide invaluable care with front line crisis management, so we’re delighted to partner with CALM and we hope to raise further awareness, get men talking and support CALM with donating profits from our charity t-shirts,” F&F CEO Richard Price says. EL

30 May – Qatar Airways wants to get football fans ‘Dancing in the Streets’

Qatar Airways’ World Cup campaign will have football fans dancing all the way to the tournament.

In its maiden year as a top tier FIFA sponsor, the airline is partnering with American singer-songwriter and actress Nicole Scherzinger to deliver an anthem aimed at capturing the hearts of fans across the world.

The campaign features a re-recording of the song ‘Dancing in the Streets’ and is presented as a musical-style TV commercial in a bid to unite football fans while expressing the airline’s firm belief that sports is a universal language which has the power to inspire and encourage people to follow their dreams.

The company’s chief executive Akbar Al Baker believes “music is a force for good” and one of the most powerful forces for uniting humans “because it transcends language barriers”.

“This particular song that we’re working on is so powerful and it has a strong message – it celebrates and unites,” he adds.

In May last year, Qatar Airways revealed a five-year sponsorship deal with FIFA which will take the partnership through to 2022. EL

24 May – Lidl’s World Cup ad teams kids with England stars

To celebrate its three-year partnership with England’s national football team, Lidl has launched its ‘Dream Big’ campaign ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The campaign aims to combine the supermarket’s backing of the England team with Lidl’s grassroots initiative ‘FA Lidl Skills’, which has created three million opportunities for kids aged five to 11 to play football during the last three years.

Created by TBWA/London, the activation features a series of TV commercials, which show young footballers sharing their wisdom with Three Lions stars Gary Cahill, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling, in order to help them succeed in the tournament.

The campaign will feature across cinema, radio, social, broadcast VOD, online video and digital out-of-home, in key city rail stations (including Waterloo and London Bridge) and in print.

Mark Bullingham, commercial marketing director of the FA, says: “This innovative campaign brilliantly combines football participation with the nation’s excitement around this summer’s World Cup – two themes at the heart of the FA.  Our partnership with Lidl has allowed the FA to invest millions into the grassroots game and help ensure football is a sport for all.”

With 77% of viewers second screening (using a smartphone or tablet while watching TV) during matches, Lidl has created multiple real-time assets using the children from the TV commercial to amplify the campaign at key moments across the tournament. Children will remain at the centre of the campaign, thanks to the launch of England’s ‘Lidl team’.

As part of the concept, FA Lidl Skills children have been unveiled as part of Gareth Southgate’s ‘new’ team in a mock press conference video created by CSM Sport & Entertainment. The video shows the kids replicating moments their senior counterparts will face, from boarding the plane to Russia, to facing major on-pitch moments.

The 60-second TV commercial will premiere tonight (24 May) on ITV.

23  May – Twitter to show real-time World Cup highlights

Twitter will be broadcasting real-time World Cup highlights this summer thanks to a partnership with ITV.

As part of the deal, ITV – which was the first UK broadcaster to use Twitter’s in-stream video offering during the 2014 World Cup – will tweet exclusive highlights from the 35 games broadcast by the network. According to Twitter’s EMEA content partnerships lead, Lee Leborgne, the social media giant saw 672 million tweets during the World Cup in Brazil four years ago.

“Fans can look forward to seeing huge goals delivered into their timeline just moments after they hit the net,” he adds.

The initiative will be sponsored by major brands including Lidl, Visa and EA. EL

23 May – Vivo shows the power of ‘pep talks’ in global campaign

Chinese smartphone giant Vivo has launched a  global campaign to promote its sponsorship of the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The campaign aims to demonstrate the power of ‘pep talks’ through a series of short clips. Titled ‘My Time, My FIFA World Cup’, the campaign officially launched in Beijing today and includes a number of advertising spots and photography-led marketing activations.

Vivo says the thematic campaign advocates the belief that “everyone can be extraordinary” and calls on people to seize moments of opportunity to be extraordinary in their lives.

“Through its products and technology, Vivo hopes to empower people to go beyond being just being an audience at the FIFA World Cup, but to become a participant, a creator, and to enable extraordinary moments to be seen, shared and remembered,” the company says.

Each video shows number of different people from a Russian ballerina to an Italian football manager and an Argentinian father, giving ‘pep talks’ to their teams.

The video will also be followed by a series of music-themed activations throughout the tournament. EL

22 May – BBC launches embroidered World Cup campaign

The BBC’s World Cup marketing campaign aims to take football fans on a journey through the competition’s iconic moments from the past.

Titled ‘The Tapestry’, the broadcasters’s animated launch film – which was directed by Nicos Livesey and produced by BBC Creative – modernizes traditional tapestry techniques, with each frame individually embroidered and photographed before being pieced together. More than 227,000 metres of thread were used to create more than 600 unique frames of tapestry that if laid end-to-end would measure more than 1,200 metres in length.

The film explores World Cup history and features the likes Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane and Paul Gascoigne, before previewing the most exciting modern-day talents including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Harry Kane, who will captain England at this year’s tournament. A traditional Russian folk song called Ochi Cheryne accompanies the film.

This visual style will then become the look and feel for the BBC’s coverage, extending into programming graphics, website design and social media. A seven-metre long tapestry will also be put on public display, and added to after the tournament is over with the aim of creating a historical record of the event.

James Parry, head of marketing for BBC Sport and Events, says: “The World Cup is steeped in stories, and our campaign brings to life some of its most memorable moments with a unique interpretation of a centuries-old Russian tradition, accompanied by a traditional and iconic piece of music which we all fell in love with instantly.” EL

22 May – Unibet encourages consumers to make informed bets

Unibet has unveiled a six-part video series aimed at encouraging customers to make informed bets on the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

Featuring former football greats Didier Drogba and Djibril Cisse, the series titled ‘Bets and Breakfast’ shows the ex-players coaching two celebrity teams as they compete head-to-head in a survival of the smartest punter.

During the series celebrities, including Dutch footballer Anouk Hoogenkijk, visit six European cities – including Rome, Stockholm and Moscow – placing bets on high-profile local games as they go. The quality of travel, accommodation and food will also contribute to how successful the punters are.

With their winnings and losses documented along the way, a number of experts will be imparting their know-how to the teams and viewers during the series.

“We understand that with the right tools we can help our customers make more informed bets and we aim to do that with this content series. We want to do this in a light-hearted and fun way that appeals to a younger, smartphone connected audience,” says Alison Sams, head of brand and creative services at Kindred Group.

The mini-episodes will be distributed in nine markets, including Sweden, Denmark, France, Italy, Finland, Romania, Belgium and Australia and hosted across Unibet’s global social media platforms in the build-up to, and throughout the World Cup. EL

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 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 Europe, Asia, Mexico, 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