A Look At Who’s Winning The World Cup (Off The Field)

By Sapna Khatri | July 10, 2014

world cup, advertising, social media, newsy

The FIFA World Cup is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world AKA the biggest single-event advertising platform in the world. With millions of fans that span the globe, all coming together for a month-long tournament, its momentum is hard to beat. While avid sports fans may tune in because of their sheer love for the sport, others become fans thanks to the hype.


And what complements hype better than advertising? Whether its global brands or local businesses, everyone is seen embracing the World Cup 2k14 spirit. We’ve compiled a list of this year’s World Cup marketing scoreboard leaders so far:



The iconic beverage brand is known for its marketing campaigns and this time is no exception. With storytelling at the core of its “This Is The World’s Cup” campaign, Coca-Cola released a series of videos featuring fans overcoming obstacles in inspiring situations. The campaign took the World Cup trophy around the globe.


You may have also caught a glimpse of their Happiness Flag before the opening match of the Cup, but did you catch everyone on the flag? With an estimated global audience of more than 1 billion people, Coca-Cola explained how “the largest-ever, digitally produced Photomosaic® flag used more than 200,000 fan-submitted images.” That means the flag featured the faces of soccer fans from 207 different countries when it made its way onto the pitch at Arena de Sao Paulo. That is truly taking the Cup from Brazil and sharing it with the world.



With a number of commercials and print ad campaigns circling the globe, the fast food chain has definitely seen some success with its campaign efforts. Take for example this commercial featuring amateur soccer stars kicking it up with their best tricks - without any added CGI effects. For going all natural, and no McDonald’s food to be seen, this commercial makes the goal for sure.


The company simultaneously launched their packaging and online campaign: “Peel, Play, Olé Olé.” That is where some of its shots are missed. It seems that the “Peel Play Olé Olé” campaign didn’t generate the greatest buzz with World Cup fans. The campaign features McDonald’s classic peel and play online packaging on food items like french fries, burger boxes and drinks. A little too time consuming for a lot of World Cup fans - especially since they are busy watching and celebrating the games!



Adidas crafted the perfect online and on-field marriage, zeroing-in on the player that is key to every single match ever played: the soccer ball. Introducing Brazuca, the official match ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The vivid colors on the face of the ball may be the first thing we notice, but beyond the colors, there is the story of Adidas’ commitment to the sport and its fans. According to Adidas America’s director of soccer, Ernesto Bruce, “The ball continues to evolve,” and creating the brazuca was a four-year process for the brand. But the campaign only begins with the ball being played on the pitch. The real strength is seen through social media. With splinter campaigns beginning as early as 2012, where fans in Brazil participated in a public voting campaign to name the ball, thusly giving birth to “brazuca.” Follow @brazuca for behind the scenes and on field action.


If there was a World Cup for advertising, the war between Adidas and Nike would be the nail-biting final round. Fans have been flocking to the brands’ microsites and their videos from before the World Cup kick off. And Nike seems to be leading the game.


With its latest Risk Everything campaign, Nike crafted a message through its sponsorships. Kicking it up another notch, the brand produced commercials, gear, an app and a social media campaign to complement all its efforts. Immediately effective, Nike generated a large following and earned accolades in the industry for its integrated marketing campaign. From before the ball hit the field in Brazil, through the final goal of the final match, the brand encourages everyone to risk everything this year at the World Cup.


Special S/O: Tender Education and Arts

Amidst the hype of the World Cup, we sometimes miss the not-so-positive aspects behind the celebrations. This haunting PSA sparked the #StandUpWorldCup social media campaign and gives light to domestic violence in England. While it isn’t a typical advertisement promoting a brand or product, it promotes an idea that is often overshadowed. Check out the PSA here.