Marketers hit global stage for World Cup

16 06 2010

While 32 Nations from around the world battle it out on the pitch in South Africa, a wide-range of advertisers are jumping in on the action. Various brands have launched major campaigns and buzz initiatives in hopes that Rooney, Kaka, and Ronaldo aren’t the only names being talked about this month.

The Good
Although the victor of the World Cup won’t be determined until July 11th, we already know who has won the advertising game: Nike.  Even though Adidas is an “Official FIFA sponsor”, Nike has completely stolen the show with their “Write The Future” campaign with huge buzz and over 15 million views on YouTube since it was launched just one month ago.  According to Nielson, Nike has an incredible 30.2% share of official and competitor buzz, while Adidas is a distant-second with 14.4%.

Budweiser, who is no stranger to shelling out boatloads of money on advertising, is the Official Beer Sponsor of the World Cup (surprise, surprise).  While their “Kick” ads, are only ok (one man’s opinion), their “Bud House” fully-integrated social media campaign where they have put one fan from each country in the same house and followers vote for who they like best is actually quite interesting and consumer-involved, but has yet to create much buzz.

Carlsberg, on the other hand, has capitalized on their sponsorship of England’s team with their “Team Talk” campaign.  According to Nielson, these spots have created 3.9% share of buzz, which is more than both McDonald’s and Hyundai (which are both Official FIFA Sponsors).  Just goes to show, you don’t have to be a giant to compete; you only need good ideas.

The Bad
Possibly the most talked about brand in the last couple months is BP.  With so much bad press lately regarding their royal screw-up in the Gulf, it would probably be a good idea for them to lay low for a while.  They thought differently.  BP has taken it upon themselves to become the “Official Fuel Sponsor” of the World Cup.  And not only that; they are boasting to “brighten” the games in South Africa in ads and on their Web site.

In fairness to BP, their WC sponsorship was inked years ago, but seeing them trying to promote themselves as a good corporate citizen in South Africa and around the world is just maddening.  Does anyone know the Zulu word for “dick heads”?

The Naked?
I read in an article in AdAge today that if Argentina wins the World Cup, Pepsi plans to follow the example of Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona, who says he’ll celebrate by running around naked in Buenos Aires, by selling their products with no label for a week in Argentina.  It’s a fun idea and one that has already caused major buzz in Argentina and around the world.

Pepsi has already made their mark on the World Cup with their “Oh Africa” campaign featuring soccer studs Didier Drogba, Thierry Henry, and even Argentina’s golden boy, Lionel Messi.  Even though Coca-Cola is an Official FIFA Sponsor, Pepsi has made sure they weren’t left out of the party.

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