Branding During the World Cup

By: Eliza Borish

For the first time in my life, I am actually interested in watching the World Cup. Maybe it’s because I am older, more passionate about sports or it’s just the idea of patriotism and supporting my country for the red, white and blue. Whatever it is, the World Cup has me hooked. I am not alone in this either; it seems that World Cup fever is hitting America. More than ever before, people in the USA are gathering together in parks, bars and in offices to watch soccer and support our Men’s National Team. Soccer, a sport that is popular in every other region and country of the world is finally reaching America. This doesn’t mean that soccer is now America’s pastime and people in every nook and cranny are joining in to watch. However, what it does mean is that slowly, yet surely, soccer is obtaining a presence here. When we think of top athletes in this country, we are consistently going to think of LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady and Jonathan Quick, which is not going to change anytime soon. But maybe, just maybe, after qualifying for the round of 16, people will start recognizing Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard a little more.

Tangent aside, the World Cup is an excellent time for companies to demonstrate their branding skills and not just with predesigned commercials and stories, but also with quick, witty and real-time marketing. A perfect example of this was when multiple brands such as McDonalds, Snickers, Trident Gum and JCPenny to name a few, speedily reacted to the news that Luis Suarez of Uruguay had bitten his Italian opponent, Giorgio Chiellini. Within no time, these companies took advantage of such news and used Suarez as the butt of their jokes, allowing the brands to stay relevant even in the influx of tweets that occur throughout the World Cup.

For example, McDonalds Uruguay chimed in tweeting “Hola ‪@luis16suarez, si te quedaste con hambre vení a darle un mordisco a una BigMac ;)” (Translation: Hi, Luis Suarez, if you are still hungry, come take a bite out of a Big Mac). Following suit were Trident Gum with “Chew Trident. Not soccer players #ITAvsURU” and JCPenny, “Fangs for the memories, Uruguay #URU” with a picture of a little boy dressed in a vampire costume. The brands allowed the World Cup to help promote their products with a simple tweet. My personal favorite, though, had to be Snicker’s take on the biting scandal. Snickers tweeted, “Hey ‪@luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers. ‪#worldcup ‪#luissuarez ‪#EatASNICKERS” with a photo that read ‘More satisfying than Italian’ #Luissuarez”. Why is this my favorite, you may ask? This is because the Snickers slogan has consistently been “Hungry? Grab A Snickers” and utilizing that traditional slogan to embrace the Suarez controversy is brilliant. While other companies cracked jokes and promoted their brand just using Suarez, Snickers was able to crack a joke, promote its brand and do it in a way that was uniquely “Snickers”. While Suarez did set snickers up by actually biting his opponent, Snickers took advantage of that and incorporated it into their already recognizable slogan propelling their brand (and tweet) further than other brands.

Kudos to the Snickers marketing and branding people who thought on their feet and allowed the tension on the field and in the game to successfully roll over to the Internet and to your brand. While Luis Suarez now has a 4-month ban from FIFA, you, on the other hand, Snickers, have stayed relevant. People aren’t just talking about Luis anymore; people are now talking your delicious chocolaty peanut candy bars and how your tweet was both funny and current.

So while soccer hastily catches on in America, real-time marketing during sporting events, beauty pageants, TV shows and even global news is spreading like wildfire. To stay on top in business, you need to stay relevant and that requires knowing what is trending, like the Game of Thrones finale or the NBA draft. Once you know these things, you can post tweets that are in accordance with live programs and events and capture the large audience that is also watching along with you. Viewers and clients don’t have to be the only ones with opinions tweeting during and after shows. Brands have the same opportunity! And if they market that opportunity correctly by posting a witty or clever tweet in real-time, they can garner attention for their brands and ultimately, revenue.

Don’t let talk be cheap. Take advantage of real time marketing and live interactions. Gain traction for your brand now, just as Snickers did. Hey, while you’re at it, turn on the World Cup to start. If you don’t find anything usable or relevant, watch it for fun and spread it to America. What’s that cheer? I believe that we will win…and now, I believe that we will tweet!

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

 

 

 

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