Phew this World Cup business is exhausting, but definitely that good I’ve-just-had-the-best-night-out-of-my-life kind of exhausting. It’s been a crazy four weeks in South Africa and as fans we have had huge emotional investment in the event; we have got carried away with supporting our teams, the dramatic stadiums, the tangible feeling of unity, the nail-biting penalties and those terrible refereeing decisions. This emotion is a powerful thing, especially when expressed by fans Worldwide, and brands have taken a slice of this World Cup fervour pie. The content brought out for the World Cup has been exceptionally cool, very creative and played on our emotional attachment to the competition, from Coca-Cola’s celebration mix of the Wavin’ Flag song to Nike’s Write the Future campaign. Brands have been able to gain a lot of attention during the tournament but with Sunday fast approaching my question is what happens next? In the ensuing post-World Cup emotional slump what can they do to get our attention?
The World Cup has been an incredible success, well may be not for England, but the overall tournament has been amazing! A lot of brands have shared in this success and it hasn’t just been the official Fifa affiliated sponsors. In a recent report from Omnicom Media Group (OMG) they claim almost half of viewers think Nike is an official Fifa World Cup sponsor, where as it is in fact Adidas. Nike’s association with the World Cup is down to some very creative and timely advertising, with which they have simply basked in the glow of the World Cup. As an official sponsor Adidas released The Quest but this has been overshadowed by Nike’s Write the Future campaign, which I personally think is a whole lot cooler. Pepsi isn’t a World Cup sponsor either but they have had huge success with Oh Africa (feat.Akon) and the ad including Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Andrei Arshavin and Kaka. The Coca-Cola presence has been remarkable as has their content, but they are an official sponsor and have paid for maximum exposure. Pepsi, Nike, and dare I say Bavaria beer have ambushed the World Cup with their creative advertising and used the tournament (without any official association!) to appeal to our football fervour and receive worldwide exposure.
With such an abundance of decent advertising during the World Cup it leaves me wondering what will happen after the World Cup ends. When the final is played on Sunday (which is a real battle of the brands as Spain play in Adidas kits and Netherlands in Nike!), when the Coca-Cola branded fan parks are taken down and they no longer greet us at the airport with free “Welcome to South Africa” cans, when the YouTube hits on Wavin’ Flag reduce… how will these brands wow us when they don’t have the World Cup as a direct road to our excitement and passion?
It has been suggested to me that these brands’ reliance on the World Cup has been too heavy and that this was a misguided strategy. You could say that by saturating us, the fans, with emotive and involving football-focused content they have made the post-World Cup slump that much harder on themselves… how can they now wow us, after all who wants to get involved with boring “normal” campaigns?! But I think this wasn’t misguided, I think it would be misguided if they didn’t now capitalise on this incredible period of exposure. Coca-Cola, Nike, Adidas, Sony, Pepsi etc have had a great World Cup, gained a lot of viewers and now they must continue to captivate us. They have set a standard and there is no reason why they can’t maintain it.
Campaigns, Marketing Strategies, building brand love; all are fluid and flexible and should react to public opinion, big moments and/or be great enough to start new moments. The brands that have won in the World Cup are the ones that have created relevant content for that moment, the Wavin’ Flag song is a perfect example. Coca-Cola planned for the World Cup, rolled out an awesome campaign, gained followers who are ready to see what else they can do. This applies to all brands that have carried out a successful World Cup campaign. The tournament may not have played out exactly as Nike suggested, as Ronaldo barely scored any goals and we Brits won’t be naming our first born babies Wayne, but the brands who successfully involved themselves with the World Cup and us do now have the opportunity to write their own future. They have proved themselves, gained a following and we are waiting to see what comes next…