World Cup 2014: The Latest

Marketing Week brings you the latest marketing-related news, views and observations from Brazil. Let us know what World Cup marketing has caught your eye by adding your comments below.  

(14 July) Well, that was emotional. But what have we learned?

Adidas was the World Cup sponsorship winner, according to brand tracking data.

Germany were deserved winners of the 2014 World Cup this weekend, bringing the tournament to a close. We can barely believe there’s four more years to go until the next one. Here’s six marketing takeaways from a wonderful competition.

(11 July) Alcohol sales fizzle out as the World Cup draws to a close

Excitement for the World Cup final has not been enough to convince thirsty drinkers to spend extra on beer and cider, according to market researchers IRI. Lager volume sales dropped by 5.5 per cent in the week ending 5 July, while cider sank 11.1 per cent, a significant decline on the strong demand experienced at the start of the tournament. Alcohol brands were still flying off shelves up in the third week of the tournament, according to researchers, but temperamental weather in the final week appears to have taken its toll on the category. However, it is not all doom and gloom as IRI predicts total alcohol sales around the World Cup to top the same period last year with total sales of £1.1bn.

(11 July) Gillette grooms us for the final

Gillette Messi press ad

P&G’s Gillette has taken out ads in national press today, featuring global brand ambassador and “magician” Leo Messi. Argentina will be hoping Messi is the “best a [team] can get” when they take on Germany in the final on Sunday.

(10 July) Adidas claims World Cup success after sponsored teams reach the final


The kit maker has been quick to trumpet its brand dominance at the 2014 World Cup final, which will see sponsored teams Germany and Argentina tussle for the biggest prize in football. Not content with its dominance on the pitch, Adidas also claims it is the “most talked about brand at the event across all major social channels”, amassing some 4,865,502 followers in total and more than any other sports brand. Beyond the social arena, Adidas also boasts the highest scoring boot of the tournament (the adidas adizero f50) with 46 goals to date.

Despite its lack of presence at the final, Nike’s World Cup campaign continues to raise the bar in the engagement stakes. The “Risk Everything” campaign, which spans several videos, have sparked more than 394.6 million views, and over 23.05 million actual engagements. The brand’s Pixar-styled “The Last Game” animated short (see below) leads the way with around 205.65 million views in the run up to the quarter finals and 15.25 million engagements.

(9 July) German blitzkrieg on Brazil smashes Twitter records


Germany’s thrashing of the World Cup hosts in one of the greatest humiliations in Brazilian football history set the Twittersphere ablaze last night. Around 35.6 million tweets were posted, making the game the most discussed ever on the platform, according to Twitter. It also set new record for tweets per minute with a peak of 580,166 when Sami Khedira slotted home the fourth, ending a shocking first half for the hosts. Miroslav Klose was the most mentioned player during the game with the #GER, hashtag after becoming the all-time record goal scorer in World Cup finals. See the heat map above to see how the match payed out on Twitter.

(9 July) Brands laud Germany but mock Brazil after World Cup hosts crumble


The hosts of one of the most exciting World Cups to date saw their campaign end in humiliation last night after a 7-1 thrashing by Germany. Brands have sympathised and mocked the shell-shocked nation in equal measure with social media posts reflecting on the horror show. Visa captured the mood of millions perfectly with a shot of a child’s open-mouthed reaction (above) to the unprecedented result alongside the caption “Stunned”. German brands Adidas, Audi and Golf were quick to praise the team’s victory, playfully riffing on the 7 goal rout. Red Bull also took the opportunity to enter the football conversation by pleading “somebody give #BRA some wings #justforkicks”.

Paddy Power unearthed a picture of Brazil poster boy Neymar holding a a can of err…7Up (see below). Despite sponsoring the Brazil team, Nike also pounced on the opportunity to exploit Germany’s win by congratulating Miroslav Klose for becoming the World Cup’s top scorer. Tesco is also revelling in Brazil’s defeat with a tactical press ad promoting Brazilian beer Brahma. The ad (below), nooked by Initiative UK, jokingly features a picture of the beer with a Brazilian flag and the pun “Bottled It”




(4 July) Beats launches new ad for France v Germany 

Football fans have had to suffer two whole days without a game so Beats is hoping to gee them up for this evening’s quarter-finals with a new ad specifically for the France v Germany game. Allez les Bleus, An Eurer Seite shows French and German football fans and celebrities preparing for the game.

(4 July) When England lose, the supermarkets lose too


The World Cup has failed to provide a much-needed spike in sales to the UK’s leading supermarkets, according to researchers at Nielsen, who suggest that England’s exit from the tournament hampered any chances of a sales turnaround. During the four weeks to 21 June – which covered the build up to as well as the first nine days of the tournament – consumers spent 0.6 per cent less at the UK’s leading supermarkets than the same period a year ago, buying 1.8 per cent less in volume. 

“Supermarket hopes were heavily pinned on a strong World Cup for England and a good summer to kick-start sales,” says Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight Mike Watkins. 

He adds: “Although the good weather played its part, and sales increased 1.9 per cent in the opening week of the month-long tournament, the national team’s confirmed exit after just eight days was a blow to stimulating sales. Despite the 12 per cent sales growth in Beers, Lagers and Ciders over the four-week period, it wasn’t enough to help drive purchasing in other categories or to help lift overall supermarket sales.”

(4 July) Nike v Adidas: the half time analysis

Using YouGov data, we take a look at who has gained the upper edge in the fierce brand marketing clash between Nike and Adidas. 

(3 July) Adidas gets arty 

As the teams take a breather ahead of their quarter final matches on Friday, Adidas has put its paintbrush to work to celebrate the story so far with a colourful Twitter post, featuring that now-famous Robin van Persie header.

Adidas World Cup tweet

(2 July) Brands hail Tim Howard after goalkeeper saves a record 15 shots


USA goalkeeper Tim Howard was the busiest goalkeeper in World Cup history after making a record 15 saves against Belgium. Sadly, the heroic effort was in vain as the Americans crashed out in a pulsating match that saw the Belgians squeak through in extra time.

Brands were quick to praise Howard’s achievement with a series of posts riffing on the seemingly superhuman feat. Paddy Power inserted the Everton player into a Jaws poster, claiming he was good enough to stop the shark catching swimmers. Mercedes AMG F1 team joked Howard could save the brakes during a Grand Prix race, while Nike congratulated the goalkeeper on Twitter. If that wasn’t enough, the sports brand brought in Zlatan Ibrahimovic to honour the Americans World Cup with the Swedish star claiming the “USA was like a country shaped like me”.

(1 July) Microsoft looks to outdo World Cup Octopus as match predictor

Paul the Octopus may have been the star predictor of the 2010 World Cup, but Microsoft’s Cortona assistant is proving to be a worthy replacement. The technology giant updated its Siri-style service to make World Cup predictions over the weekend, and it has successfully predicted four results. It bases the predictions on the same algorithms as the Bing search engine and can be activated by simply asking it “Who will win the United States vs Belgium match” for example. The functionality is part of regular updates that Microsoft makes to Cortana every two weeks, introducing minor tweaks and new data to the service.

(30 June) KLM insults Mexico fans with mocking tweet of the team’s World Cup exit


Brands espouse enthusiastically about the need for speed when it comes to real-time marketing but perhaps the Dutch airline should have thought otherwise before posting its ill-timed tweet. The business congratulated the Netherlands last gasp victory over Mexico yesterday with a picture of an airport departures sign under the heading, “Adios Amigos!”. A cartoon image of a sombrero-wearing, moustached man was shown next to the word “Deapartures”. Mexican fans, fuming at their side’s loss, slammed the post as racist and offensive, which pushed the airline to issue an apology just hours later.

KLM becomes the second airline to score a own goal on Twitter since the start of the tournament. Delta tweeted a picture of the Statue of Liberty next to a giraffe after the USA beat Ghana, missing the minor detail that the animal does not live in the latter.

(30 June) World Cup gives FIFA’s digital platforms a major boost


FIFA’s World Cup efforts to make up for lost time in the digital arena appear to be paying off after it revealed more than 230 million users had visited its World Cup hub by the end of the group stage. Those fans went on to consume more than 7.5 billion page impressions of official World Cup digital content, it adds.

Organisers said mobile and social platforms contributed to the record-breaking numbers with 79 million football fans consuming content on mobile devices since the tournament began. Additionally, around one million @mentions and two million retweets have been generated. FIFA made no secret of its digital ambitions prior to the tournament, investing in mobile and social media to emulate the strategies of its commercial partners. But time will tell as to how the numbers stack up to the advertisers and broadcasters with years of experience on activating around the tournament.

(27 June) Betfair rebrands to Bitefair to support Suarez World Cup ban


Just when you thought you had seen enough virals and stunts featuring the under fire striker, Betfair adds another to the list. The online gambling firm is changing its name to Bitefair tomorrow ahead of the Columbia vs Uruguay match, which will see its logo across all channels change as well feature in a print campaign in The Sun. Suarez has been booted out of the tournament for biting another player and is currently serving a nine-match international ban. The incident has sparked outrage from football fans worldwide and Betfair is the latest in a long of brands looking to share the media spotlight with the player. 

(26 June) Press ads catch up with marketing gift that is Suarez

Specsavers ad

Following the slew of social media efforts yesterday, today’s newspapers have gotten in on the Suarez biting affair, which has now firmly entered popular culture to the point where the uninitiated can add him to the footballers they know (alongside Beckham). Specsavers, see above, have a message for the striker, while Philips is pushing its Airfloss product with the line: “Perfect if you have a bit of Italian stick between your teeth’. Enough now, eh?  

(25 June) Nike’s World Cup content charge gathers pace

The company’s efforts to leverage reactive posts, short films and its players are keeping its products in the World Cup spotlight. Nike’s irreverent #askzlatan campaign, where an animated Zlatan Ibrahimovich responds to fan questions via short personalised films, has generated over 10 million views since launching at the start of the month. It gets better for the company as its three star-studded “Risk Everything” films have so far sparked around 372 million views across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and China’s Weibo. This figure rises to 6 billion impressions, according to Nike when TV, mobile and cinema views are also included.

Nike is using the lull before the next phase of the tournament to showcase its summer boot collection, which it describes as the “most innovative pieces of performance footwear that the beautiful game has ever seen”. Stars including Neymar, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge have been wearing the new Hypervenom boot. 

(25 June) Suarez: The gift that keeps on giving 


It’s almost like some brands had content at the ready waiting for Luis Suarez to dispense with the pleasantries and take a juicy chunk out of an opponent so quick where the likes of McDonald’s, Nando’s, Trident, Whole Foods and Listerine in responding. A gift for the ‘digital news rooms’ poised to make their mark. Suarez, who in case you haven’t been following the side-show in Brazil is alleged to have bitten an opponent last night, is awaiting his fate. FIFA is deliberating over its sanction and sponsors Adidas and 888 are watching to inform their next move.  

(24 June) Peperami mashes Adrian Chiles for ’looking like a potato’

Adrian Chiles must be pretty used to being the butt of jokes, but we feel Peperami’s sponsored tweet today is bordering on the mean side. But it’s still quite funny. 

(24 June) Puma commiserates Cameroon exit as Nike dances for Brazil win


Puma may be holding back most of its football activity until after the World Cup but that has not stopped it from dabbling in social media around the tournament. The sportswear maker posted a sympathetic tweet to sponsored team Cameroon after the country’s last match of the tournament ended in a 4-1 drubbing by hosts Brazil. The win was cause to cheer for Nike, which released a fun video of Neymar, David luiz and Thiago Silva dancing with the strapline “When the world is watching, make it look even better”.

(23 June) Nike leads the way for positive brand affinity around the World Cup

Nike’s responsive online posts to star performances from its ambassadors combined with its “Last Game” campaign (see above) have kept it ahead of the competition when it comes brand affinity around the tournament. The American business secured 7,700 positive mentions in the UK during the first seven days of the tournament, according to Way to Blue. It was marginally ahead of McDonald’s with 7,600 mentions as the fast food company’s trick shot viral video successful mined the World Cup buzz.

Elsewhere, World Cup sponsor Johnson & Johnson was the least buzzed about brand (1,500 mentions), according to the research, with most of the buzz driven by its Listerine brand’s global campaign.

(23 June) Samsung stuffs up with “good luck Landon Donovan” tweet

Samsung tweet

Red faces at Samsung’s Dubai office after it posted a good luck tweet to ”Landon Donovan and the USA team”, ahead of the USA’s World Cup clash with Portugal…forgetting Landon Donovan – one of the stars of the phone giant’s Samsung Galaxy 11 campaign – didn’t actually make the USA squad. The tweet has now been deleted.

(20 June) Sony and McDonald’s look to cheer up England fans after Uruguay defeat

The World Cup sponsors are trying to pep up the nation’s hopes after the squad’s defeat left them as good as out of the tournament. McDonald’s is targeting those fans feeling slightly worse for wear this morning with a press advert in today’s edition of The Sun for its Sausage and Egg McMuffin. The ad is captioned by the strapline “Every Cloud  Has a Silver Lining”. Sony issued a rallying cry on Twitter in the wake of the match, urging fans to remain hopeful. It posted: “It’s not over but it’s now out of England’s hands. #CRC up next. #WorldCup”.

(20 June) Visa seeks to hijack #persieing ’Flying Dutchman” internet trend


Dutch striker Robin van Persie’s delicately nodded header over Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas has become one of the defining images of the World Cup. It has also inspired the #persieing internet trend, whereby fans posts their own versions of the swan-dive header on Twiitter. Visa is looking to hijack the popular craze through its “Teletransporter” app, which lets users superimpose themselves into moments from the tournament. The credit card brand has recreated the classic header shot and is urging users to use the app when taking part in the trend.

(20 June) Jonhson & Johnson turns social posts into ads

The World Cup sponsor is looking to make a splash with its real-time marketing by using social media posts to inform its media buying strategy. Jonhson & Johnson’s Listernine brand is buying Facebook and Twitter ads in real-time based on which posts are generating the most engagement. Posts are accompanied by an illustration with the brand integrating more multimedia into its second-screen activity.

(19 June) Safety first, with St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance Tweet

Whether we’re drinking in jubilation, or drowning our sorrows after (or perhaps even during) the England match tonight, charity St John Ambulance has helpfully reminded Twitter followers of the recovery position. Although without any floor, horizon or background for context, it does look a little like the victim in question is dramatically diving to the floor. None of that tonight, hopefully.

(19 June) Brands cross their fingers for an England win


Brands are falling over themselves to tap into the patriotic fervour pervading the nation ahead of England’s crunch match against the mighty Uruguay tonight as if it is the last chance it could actually be. Amid supermarket beer offer ads accompanied by thoughtful urges such as “come on England” is this from Duracell. Stands out among pages of press ads-by-numbers.   

(19 June) Celebrity selfies the difference for England


What’s that I hear? It is the sound of the selfie bandwagon rolling into town. England team sponsor Samsung is promising some “some patriotic selfies from some recognisable faces” later today (19 June) to, err, show their support for England before they take the field against Uruguay.   News of the #Selfie4England campaign will no doubt leaden the boots of Suarez and co.  

(19 June) Film raises awareness of domestic violence during the World Cup

The National Centre for Domestic Violence is taking the World Cup stage to highlight the threat of increased violence on England’s match days. The hard-hitting JWT-created film shows a woman making a cup of tea in her kitchen, while anxiously awaiting the end of a game, the sound of which can be heard from another room. The woman becomes visibly afraid as she hears the final whistle.

(18 June) Budweiser raises a glass to responsible drinking


The World Cup sponsor is donning its sensible hat to drive awareness of responsible drinking this summer. Outdoor ads are running across London and in Manchester with the strapline “Cheer Loudly. Enjoy Responsibly”. The ads come under its “Rise as One” sponsorship campaign for the tournament.

(17 June) World Cup wins USA over to soccer (according to Twitter)

Football in the US traditionally pales in comparison to basketball and baseball. However, it would seem attitudes to the beautiful game are changing as evidenced by a heat map highlighting the number of tweets the national team’s injury time winner over Ghana caused yesterday (16 June). The goal set the Twitter sphere ablaze as millions of US football fans tweeted excitedly about the unlikely win.

(17 June) Twitter reacts to Germany’s dismantling of Portugal

Germany vs Portugal was the second most-tweeted match of the tournament, after the opening game between Brazil and Croatia, with 8.9 million tweets according to FIFA. Fans worldwide tuned in to watch World Cup poster boy Crisitano Ronaldo get outmuscled by the Germans as the player became the second high-profile Nike ambassador after Wayne Rooney to have a stuttering start to the World Cup. The result was made worse for Nike by rival Adidas lauding the victory through tweets pushing its ties to the German team and man of the match Thomas Müller.

(17 June) Orangina sticks up for the World Cup haters

Orangina is looking to appeal to football haters with its “Antifoot” can, which is capable of switching off any football game on TV when squeezed. To test the product, the French brand filmed one mischievous drinker secretly interrupting a televised screening of Brazil’s World Cup opener. Needless to say the stunt didn’t go down too well with the scores of football fans (see above).

(17 June) Adidas gets Mullered

Adidas tweet

“Mullered” is an adjective used in Blighty to describe someone who might have had a drink or two too many. Not, we can safely assume, what Adidas meant when it tweeted the word after the Germany v Portugal game yesterday (17 June). No, Adidas was celebrating Germany striker Thomas Müller’s hat-trick, which secured a four-nil win for the Germans. The outcome was a win for Adidas. Müller is a brand ambassador and it makes Germany’s kit, while loser Portugal wear Nike and feature star Nike brand ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo. 

(16 June) England go to penalties with The Daily Mirror

This weekend Daily Mirror readers were offered the chance to test their penalty taking skills against Manuel Neuer and Thibault Courtois at Wembly FC stadium.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the real Germany and Belgium national keepers – rather a couple of blokes who had visited the deed poll office – and they didn’t really have to hike it on the Metropolitan Line up to Wembley. In what the newspaper describes as the “world’s first digital penalty shooutout”, readers took aim at the goal from the comfort of their homes via their smartphones and tablets, remotely controlling an internet-connected soccer training machine.

Final score? England 82 – 114 Neuer (Courtois only came on as a sub).

(16 June) Volkswagen ambushes Hyundai’s World Cup with ‘Gooooolf’ celebration videos


Volkswagen is hoping to outfox World Cup sponsor Hyundai with its quirky ambush stunt in the US. The German car marque is trying to own half-time, which Hyundai expects its partnership with ESPN to yield, by running so-called “Gooooolf Celebration” videos on the American broadcaster’s site. The cheeky digital banners see different coloured Golf GTI’s – mat