Media Fifa World Cup

Winning the World Cup (as an advertiser)

By Mark Howley, CEO

July 6, 2018 | 5 min read

Refreshing isn’t it? How an emotion like positivity can change the whole way you think and act. I am of course talking about the England team's performances on and off the field.

Fifa World Cup

Fifa World Cup

Gareth Southgate has bestowed belief in the whole England set up. It is no surprise that so many advertisers want to be associated with both the England Team and the World Cup in general. In England, this provides a platform for advertisers to deepen their emotional engagement with their customers. Emotion is a powerful tool used to great effect in advertising. However, this becomes even more powerful if ads can capture the zeitgeist of the nation through association.

Unlike four years ago, digital is playing a larger part in most client’s World Cup plans. However, this World Cup is not about a battle between TV and digital: it’s about how TV and digital can support each other, as the research demonstrates to watch the game, TV (85%) is still the dominant destination of choice.

As digital is now playing a much bigger part in both the activity surrounding and during the games, the strongest digital campaigns will act as ‘fillers’ for the gaps in and around the live TV coverage.

For example, the England v Columbia game had 3.3m simulcast requests on the ITV Hub - their biggest ever number for live programming. It also allowed brands to get involved at a lower capital cost and affords them more flexibility due to late planning.

I believe the strongest digital campaigns for the World Cup have been:

The Visa work with Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a good example of building digital, social and PR hype around an ad by using your protagonist’s personality and reputation to good effect, all of which was thanks to a great TV ad.

The Paddy Power polar bear work was executed well (the first phase being the print wrap around) as it created and then deflated a media storm and showed depth as well as mischief. The VAR TV and online video ads from Paddy Power also cleverly built on a good understanding of the audience as it was always going to be one of the tournament’s main talking points.

Lidl’s World Cup campaign is a great example of leveraging an association with the England Team with a humorous set of ads that reflect the new feeling in the England Camp. This campaign uses the emotion generated by both the World Cup and the England Team to push Lidl top of mind with consumers. It has also helped connect the nation with the footballers, seeing them as human beings, not self-centred overpaid sportsmen.

Hugo Boss has also used The World Cup to deepen their emotional engagement with consumers through its association with Harry Kane. It has been more explicit with the strapline “never underestimate the power of passion.”

World Cup sponsor, Budweiser has tried to harness technology with moments of pleasure through its drones advert, inextricably linking its brand to the occasion of watching the World Cup.

Campaigns like these that extend onto digital, or focus on digital channels, are adding to the consumer experience and World Cup revenues, rather than replacing it. It provides a more targeted way to remind people of the shared experience delivered through TV. The World Cup is forecasted to generate an extra £40m in advertising revenue in the UK, with ITV alone being up year on year in June by 19%.

When it comes to social amplification, research demonstrates the level of personalisation that fans will want. It is no longer a case of being on Facebook (to which just 3% of people will turn for news and insight): it is more a case of ensuring you have the right content for the right channel*.

For example, Twitter ranks highly for news and insight at 11% because it’s a great way of consuming and sharing that content quickly, as opposed to Snapchat at just 0.33%. Snapchat will have its uses – probably celebrating – just not sharing news.

For every fantastic World Cup ad, there will be shockers, like Mastercards’ children’s meal campaign. The key is to tap into the emotion and fever is a positive way, that also demonstrates you get the viewers. I am looking forward to seeing more great associations and world cup themed comms shenanigans. It’s coming home.

**insights and research provided by Publicis Media Sport and Entertainment.

Mark Howley is CEO of Zenith UK

Media Fifa World Cup

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