The 2018 FIFA World Cup is here. As managers agonize over team selection, organizers hastily finish stadiums, and fans the world over plot ingenious ways to watch games during work hours, millions of fans around the world will follow their team, phone in hand, checking the score and sounding off about contentious decisions online.
When it comes to real-time marketing, no field is better poised to take advantage of the opportunities than the soccer industry. They use social media to share everything from new kit launches and celebratory cheers to smack-talk, score predictions, and stats. If one of the keys to real-time social media marketing is going where the fans are, then soccer is set up for success.
To celebrate the World Cup and to inspire you as you plan your upcoming marketing campaigns as the sporting calendar gets into full flow, we’ve put together some of our favorite campaigns thus far. Whether you need to boost game-day excitement, encourage social buzz, drive declared data collection or increase revenue, you'll love these timely campaigns as much as we do.
1. Copa90 - Snapchat Stories
They say soccer is a universal language spoken in different dialects. Soccer media company, Copa90, embraces this when it comes to campaigns surrounding the FIFA World Cup. As an exciting and innovative way to connect with young fans during this year’s tournament, Copa90 has partnered with Snapchat to regularly publish new and relevant content and authentic user-generated content (UGC) to engage with its followers. Published in various languages, the stories will be available to Snapchat users across the globe.
Copa90 is putting passionate young fans right in the center of the action as though they were in Russia, by using first-person storytelling to show the World Cup from the fans’ perspective. Also complete with the latest match updates, YouTube subscription incentives, and trivia where fans have to "swipe up to find out," the activation successfully drives traffic from Snapchat to its various social channels.
2. Budweiser - Light Up The FIFA World Cup
We already spotted the Budweiser campaign as a winner for the World Cup, and with Twitter revealing that Budweiser was the most discussed brand throughout the tournament with over 637k tweets, it turns out we weren't wrong!
As one of the longest-running official sponsors of the FIFA World Cup — and a brand synonymous with sport — 2018 saw Budweiser launch one of its biggest global campaigns to date. Titled "Light Up The FIFA World Cup," the campaign, which was launched across 50 countries, aimed to “inspire, engage and energize” the billions of soccer fans tuning in around the world.
Accompanied by a 90-second video set to hit TV screens worldwide, Budweiser is also capturing the energy and buzz of the World Cup by distributing millions of audio-activated red light cups. Each time the cup senses a loud cheer or applause, for a goal or red card, the cup will light up bright red, celebrating that euphoric moment. To coincide with these activities, Budweiser is capitalizing on the sporting occasion to capture valuable declared data from its large fan base. Each time a customer purchases a FIFA World Cup edition of the Budweiser bottle, they can head to the Budweiser website and enter their unique bottle code alongside their email address to see if they’re a lucky match day winner.
3. Lidl - Dream Big With Lidl
Lidl, the official supermarket of the England soccer team, is using the FIFA World Cup as the perfect marketing opportunity. With its new "Dream Big" campaign launch, Lidl has teamed up with the likes of England stars Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill, and Raheem Sterling to film cheeky video commercials to drive awareness and share its support of grassroots soccer — so far providing three million opportunities for England’s future stars.
The video sees the soccer stars having a laugh and being the butt of some playful banter with groups of young players. To support the commercial, Lidl has created a content hub to engage website visitors, where soccer fans can not only discover various background stories behind some of the England squad stars but also be educated on the impact of Lidl’s grassroots soccer sessions.
To boost website engagement, drive first-party data collection, and to capitalize on website traffic, Lidl is also promoting a sweepstakes where fans can win a signed England shirt. After submitting their personal details, fans can "opt-in" to Lidl’s newsletter to receive the latest offers and updates.
4. Heineken - The Best Soccer Bars
It’s almost guaranteed that most soccer fans will be calling their local bar "home" for the next month. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to join in on the action, Heineken has combined fans’ love for the beer brand and soccer by partnering with Daily Mail to create the ultimate voting competition.
The campaign includes "visit" and "vote" call-to-action buttons to inspire visitors to discover more information surrounding their favorite bar, including its address, website link, and live soccer schedule. Not only does this strengthen Heineken’s association with soccer, but it also promotes and drives visits to selected bars hosting live footage of the FIFA World Cup, in turn maximizing sales of Heineken within the listed bars.
5. Mastercard - Meals for Goals
While the majority of brands are scoring with their FIFA World Cup marketing efforts, there's always some that don't make it to the playoffs. So we thought we'd highlight this *not so* successful campaign from Mastercard. After all, it is probably the most spoken about campaign of them all…just not for the right reasons.
In a bid to win over its fans by showcasing its CSR efforts, the Mastercard campaign "Meals for Goals" actually stirred quite a debate, with some fans even listing it as “the worst marketing campaign I’ve ever seen." To support the World Food Program, the campaign promised to donate 10,000 meals to children in the Caribbean and Latin America only if either Neymar or Lionel Messi scores a goal. But the topic of conversation was: why aren’t Mastercard donating meals to these children regardless of who scores a goal, and why are they turning what could have been a good cause, into a crass publicity stunt?
Request a demo of our Cheetah Experiences solution to find out how you can boost game-day excitement or encourage social buzz with permissioned first-party data acquisition campaigns.
Jessica is a Marketing Coordinator and Content Writer for Cheetah Digital. After graduating from the University of East Sussex with a first class degree in Marketing and Business Management, Jessica has spent the next part of her career helping brands connect with modern consumers through interactive experiences that capture zero-party data. When not busy in the tech space, Jessica enjoys cooking new cuisines, and training with the Cheetah Digital Run Club.