World Cup Marketing

I love this time in the sporting calendar.  The FIFA World Cup is without doubt my favourite sporting event, with the IRB Rugby World Cup a close second.

I love the atmosphere, the excitement, the sheer amount of sport on TV and I especially love the marketing that goes on around it.

At 90 minutes, football (soccer) is a long game and sometimes the pressure gets the best of the players with tactics taking the fore above the skill and flair we all want to see.  So when Nike and adidas serve up bite sized portions of pure footballing genius, I’m salivating.

This time around, Nike went for a viral offering, Ronaldinho playing “Brazilian Ping Pong” hitting the ball against the cross bar from 18 yards out.  This was quickly followed by the Joga Bonita campaign, ex-Man Utd and France star Eric Cantona extolling the virtues of the beautiful game

In contrast, adidas went for the dream team approach, two young boys picking their favourite players, both present and past.  Footballing geniuses such as Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini and Kaka showing off their skills are something to behold!

Having two players not at the World Cup (Defoe and Cisse) and another who lost his place in the team (Kahn) was unfortunate, but the advert still makes for good viewing.

And the best thing for me?  Its all PR led and thanks to the power of social media and PVRs, all the ad spots are online, drawing in people from all over the world uniting them around a commonality.

The best players endorsing the newest in “boot technology” is most definitely a PR initiative, with the advertising a major, but subsequent, component of a truly integrated campaign.As the Rieses say, build a brand on PR and defend it with advertising.  But Nike’s also building an online community.

Their Joga Bonita campaign also includes short, 5-7 minute vignettes following some seriously talented youngsters from

I’ve watched three or four of these pieces both online and in the Bloor St Nike store and they’re very good.  Interesting, passionate and human.  But will they sell football boots?

The same with the adverts.  Yes they’re entertaining but will the Nike advert persuade me to buy their boot over the adidas boots that I usually buy?  Probably not. 

The ads are merely vehicles to show the caliber of players that choose to use the product.  They amplify the PR work already done by the sponsorship team.

Just another example to show that the 30-second spot is dead, and the rise of PR.

What it Feels Like (to be linked) – Joi Cardwell ft Quentin Harris.  Links for Monday June 12, 2006

What sort of Blogger are you? – Drew B points us to the six different types of blogger

Battling Back With Blogs – Friend of this blog, Mike Driehorst, analyses the GM vs New York Times firestorm.  Is it a little childish to post an email exchange on a very public blog?  Not if you feel this passionate about your product.

Podcast City Tours – The Globe & Mail (Canada’s national newspaper) has a nice little feature on city tours downloadable to your iPod.  Most of them are paid for, but it would be a very cool sponsorship opportunity for the right brand


One Response to World Cup Marketing

  1. […] In the spirit of continuing my foray into the social media scene, I wanted to give an update on this post, on the marketing that surrounds the FIFA World Cup – which has simply been an awesome tournament so far. […]

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