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World Cup Gives Advertisers New Opportunities

World Cup Gives Advertisers New Opportunities
Xavier Villarmarzo

Nearly half the planet is expected to watch the 2014 World Cup on TV this summer, giving advertisers a diverse group of viewers to reach through a 31-day span. This opportunity has sparked some brands to branch out of their advertising comfort zone and look at different approaches to World Cup-themed campaigns.

One of the biggest dilemmas facing advertisers is the fact that matches feature two continuous 45-minute halves.  This leaves a precious few minutes for commercials at halftime, as well as the few minutes before and after the match.

For this year’s World Cup, brands and advertisers are taking advantage of other platforms to reach consumers. According to Nielsen, 46 percent of smartphone users and 43 percent of tablet users say they use their devices as second screens. That number will easily be higher for World Cup watchers, not to mention those tuning in or checking scores on their desktops.

This digital landscape is being covered with brands looking to engage with consumers. The main way brands are accomplishing this is through the use of hashtags and taking advantage of the plethora of social media posts related to the World Cup. According to a Harris Poll survey, the event will lead to a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds posting on social media, with over one-third using a mobile device to look up a game, team or player. This approach becomes especially important when research suggests that 54 percent of World Cup fans would support companies and brands that feature their favorite teams and players.

The World Cup is also giving brands an opportunity to reach Hispanic consumers.

Brands like Gatorade, AT&T, and EPSN are featuring English and Spanish ads on their websites and other digital properties. This dual approach allows brands to expand their reach far beyond their traditional boundaries.

Such a huge event naturally attracts companies and brands that aren’t officially officiated with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, these companies must be cautious as Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is very good about protecting its brand and high-paying sponsors.

Decolar.com, a Hispanic travel company, violated FIFA brand standards because their “Viva O Mundial” campaign used a synonym for the World Cup. Even official sponsors have trouble with FIFA’s brand standards. Hyundai, received a cease-and-desist letter from the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF), the rights holder of the Brazilian National team, because its commercial allegedly focused solely on the Brazilian team’s quest for a sixth World Cup Title when the team was already sponsored by Volkswagen.  Even social media will be monitored to make sure that marketers don’t send messages or tweets to athletes and teams that they are not associated with. These rules are in place to prevent what is called ambush marketing, which is when non-affiliated companies use an event to market without paying a sponsorship fee. Given the amount of money that the World Cup will generate, its not surprising that FIFA wants the revenue to go where it’s supposed to.

There’s no doubt the World Cup is the most popular sporting event – even bigger than our beloved Super Bowl. Judging by YouTube views alone, the top 20 World Cup commercials already had more views before kickoff of the first game than all Super Bowl commercials.

The top-20 World Cup ads have been shared 6.9 million times across all social platforms. Shakira’s La La La (Brazil 2014) video, a featured single for the 2014 World Cup soundtrack, has over 100 million views. Other videos have well over 10 million views. The World Cup final itself represents a huge market for advertisers. During the last final, over 900 million people tuned in, nine times more than this year’s Super Bowl.

With this many people watching, you can expect advertisers to hold no punches.

[Sources: Mashable, Clickz.com, Ad Week, Mashable 2, Digiday]

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