Event Tie-Ins and Advertising

The World Cup is here. No, not for rugby. Or cricket. We mean the Beautiful Game, football (or as Australians like to call it, ‘soccer’), a game watched and beloved by millions around the globe but which inexplicably has a smaller presence in Australia, even though Australia tends to qualify into the playoffs. Having grown up in a country whose team has no hope in hell of qualifying even if we keep offering citizenship to other people’s B teams, living in Australia for all of my adult existence has been mildly bizarre. Some parts of Melbourne *cough Lygon Street* are seriously into the World Cup, like most of the rest of the world (*cough Not USA*). The rest… aren’t. I remember when South Korea kicked Italy out of a World Cup in a controversial game. Some South Koreans drove down Lygon Street taunting the Italians. Things were set on fire. The day after, while buying groceries from Lygon Street’s Woolies, my friends and I were asked by the counter person whether we were South Korean (“No…”) and which team we supported (“Um… Brazil!”). Yeah. That’s how seriously people take the World Cup.

Things might be different this year — Italy didn’t qualify, for one, nor did the Netherlands, two normally juggernaut teams. The host country is Russia, a country still facing criticism for doping athletes, mass-culling its popular train-riding street dogs, and many, many other matters. However, it’s still set to be a lucrative World Cup. Via AdAge:

“We think this will be the biggest, most lucrative World Cup to air on English-language TV,” says Mike Petruzzi, senior VP of ad sales, Fox Sports Media Group. While Fox did not offer a ballpark estimate for how much revenue it expects to rake in over the course of the month-long tourney, its broadcast-heavy schedule alone should go a long way toward helping it top ESPN/ABC’s take in 2014.

Tie-in advertising can work to boost interest in your brand–or make you look like one of far too many trying to climb onto the bandwagon. So how do you stand out from the crowd?

Choose your Audience

Nike hedged its bets this year and released a Brazil-centric World Cup ad with music by “heavy baile” artist Leo Justi.

Why Brazil, you might ask? Brazil is one of the most football-obsessed countries on the planet, the mother country for some of the biggest talents ever in the game, including Pelé, widely considered the best player who ever lived, Ronaldo, and, in the current squad, Neymar. Its yellow jersey is instantly recognisable, and it has won more World Cups than any other country. It’s also the favourite team of many people who aren’t Brazilians. Its team is the favourite to win this year’s World Cup, despite an embarrassing showing four years ago. However, World Cup fervour has been muted in Brazil this year because of the political and economic problems that they’ve been suffering:

In Brazil, enthusiasm for this year’s cup has been tempered by a years-long corruption scandal, economic turmoil, and anxiety over an unpredictable presidential election set for October. Perhaps that’s the reason for some Brazilians’ cautious expectations for their side, despite a dominant South American World Cup Qualifying campaign and their status as one of the betting favorites. It won’t help that the Seleçao exited the 2014 tournament in Brazil with a 7-1 drubbing in the semi-finals at the hands of eventual champion, Germany. Brazil are five-time champions and their standard for success is never less than winning the tournament, but a return to the semi-finals in 2018 would probably meet the realistic expectations of most Brazilian fans.

This year Adidas was the one which went full steam with a star-studded cast:

As at the point of writing this article, despite muted enthusiasm in Brazil, the Nike ad is still doing noticeably better, with 7 mil views to Adidas’ 1 mil, despite only being published a day earlier. How did that happen? The Nike ad is extremely focused on the game itself, featuring beautifully filmed shots of various people playing soccer, while the Adidas ad is about… creativity (What?). Nike has shown that it still knows its audience better than its competitor: it knows what they want to watch, share, and watch again.

Does Your Product Even Tie-In to the Event?

Some events make more sense for your brand than others. Be sensitive to whether a tie-in might be appropriate. Woolworths, for example, famously sparked controversy in 2015 by trying to tie-in marketing to ANZAC Day with a cringeworthy “Fresh in our Memories” campaign that they had to quickly take down. Ouch. For something as already rampantly commercial and rife with corruption as FIFA’s World Cup, missteps like Woolworths’ are probably harder to make. Keeping in mind the audience who would be watching though would tell you whether they might be interested in your product in the first place — or be a new target audience you might want to approach.

The key for this is time — and research. Not sure about either? We can talk you through it.

Congrats! Now to make an ad…

Coca-Cola made a World Cup ad, because of course it did:

Its 2018 campaign is about how you’ve had 4 years to stock up for the World Cup, and frankly I’m not sure if the marketing team creating it have actually watched a World Cup game before. If it’s on, and a team that you’re interested in, why in the world would you be making a run outside for a bottle of Coke? During half-time, maybe, but not while the game’s on. Ouch.

Coca-Cola had much better luck with its sponsored World Cup 2018 anthem, Colors, by Jason Derulo:

Colors has been much more successful, with over 20 mil views on YouTube. As unbranded content, it might not necessarily translate to a bottle of Coke in every hand, but the diverse upbeat song has generated positive press online. For a large brand like Coca-Cola, that might be good enough.

And now the Weird…

In other monumental world events that happened this week, there was the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore. With the Singaporean Government footing much of the bill to the tune of $15-20 million, it was in many ways a bizarre event that led to a signed “agreement” similar to agreements already reached in earlier years by different American presidents. That aside, earned media for Singapore was estimated by Mumbrella at $150 million:

Meanwhile, Hoffman Agency general manager for Singapore Maureen Tseng claims the staging will actually prove to be priceless for the country. “You have two of the world’s most recognisable figures being filmed walking and driving through Singapore’s landmarks – and the massive publicity pre, during and post-event,” she explains.

“The fact that ‘where is Singapore?’ became one of the top trending search queries on Google is another unexpected bonus. And, unlike with many global events, both the West and the East were watching. Singapore has reinforced its position as a politically neutral, extremely organised and attractive destination. I don’t think the STB could have planned it any better. In terms of public relations value, the summit would have translated into way more than the $20m price tag.”

Event tie-ins fed through many of the F&B businesses in the country, with tie-in food and drinks such as Peace Summit burgers and other things.

Still reminiscing about the Trump-Kim summit? Fret not, there is this burger set created by @royalplazaonscotts to commemorate both leaders in Singapore. **(Note: This is only available till 15 June, and dinner hours from 6pm onwards). . This Trump-Kim 🍔 set comprises of an integration of western and korean style, featuring a juicy grilled chicken kimchi burger with fries, kimbap and a complimentary refreshing Summit Iced Tea that is made by infusing honey yuzu into traditional iced tea. The fries really lacked of innovation with the content being dry and bland. . The overall service was rather inefficient, such as reiterating our orders to different staffs repeatedly, utensils not provided despite constant reminders, and the payment process was slow. Sad to say that I am really disappointed with such a hotel standard. 😔

A post shared by JW. (@eatwithjw) on

Would you eat a kimchi burger in the name of commercialised peace? We might. In the meantime, fire up the World Cup fervour. Australia’s playing France tonight at 8pm. Go Socceroos!

Scroll to Top