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Thinking Of Advertising In The World Cup? Read This Before You Get A Red Card.


This World Cup has already been an exciting one and we’re less than a week in! For brands, it’s an exciting time too as they do their best to up their own game and reach out to consumers – getting them involved in their advertising campaigns. It’s also a dangerous time for those who aren’t aware of the ‘rules’ FIFA have laid down.

Something to be aware of is how the FIFA organisation fights against anyone using the actual words ‘World Cup’ in their advertising campaign - most notably in the case of Decolar.com due to its “Viva O Mundial” campaign.

FIFA called offside as ‘Mundial’ itself is a synonym of the World Cup. The company used official soccer ball artwork and were offering flights to Brazilian cities that were hosting matches in the World Cup as part of a competition. FIFA ordered the company to cease and desist immediately as it allegedly misappropriated FIFA’s rights – issuing a red card that damaged their campaign.

It’s up to companies to come up with interesting ways of putting one past the FIFA goalies. In the case of social media campaigns hashtagging #theworldcup or anything similar could have some seriously negative repercussions. Peugeot’s #KickItToBrazil campaign was not officially slammed by FIFA but caused the organisation to issue a warning against ‘Ambush Marketing’.

However, non-official sponsors can still get it right. Some great ways of getting around FIFA’s stringent policies have come from Nike, Pizza Hut and Samsung, highlighted in a great blog post by wallblog.co.uk, showing that unofficial sponsors have just as much chance of being noticed as official ones. With Nike driving more than twice as many social media conversations than official sponsor Adidas, it says a lot for the quality of their marketing campaign.

So in the spirit of fair play the team at Hit Search have come up with 3 things to remember when using social media or thinking of ideas for your marketing campaign around the World Cup.

1. Be inventive.

No one wants to see the same old adverts over and over again. Anyone can film football players scoring goals or taking on an entire opposition singlehandedly - it’s the inventive ones that keep people interested and get them talking about your brand. These videos from Nike and Samsung look and feel like official world cup ads, but they definitely aren’t.

2. Don’t Use official terms.

Think twice before you use the term ‘World Cup’ in your advertising campaign as FIFA will be all over you as fast as Thiago Silva (he’s a really good defender for those who don’t know). Think up your own hashtags or slogans that can be easily shared and remembered and stand out from the crowd.

3. Get involved with people talking about the World Cup.

Of course you don’t need to use official terms in your campaign to appeal to those tweeting about the World Cup, you just need to know who is. Target people talking about a specific match or the World Cup in general and interact with them, who knows you may strike up a lasting relationship with one client or an entire demographic, leading to all important conversions.

If you’ve seen someone tweet ‘Man, I wish I had some donuts whilst watching the #WorldCup’ and you sell donuts, get involved and tweet them about your product. Just don’t be pushy. The secret to marketing is making it feel like it’s not marketing at all.

For marketers this World Cup is an exciting time as non-official sponsors try to outsmart and out play the opposition. If you play by the rules (and maybe bend them a little) FIFA won’t be on your back and you can reach your key demographic this World Cup.

Hit search are the online marketing experts and can help you devise the perfect marketing campaign for your brand. To speak to an expert about online marketing and paid adverts call 0845 643 9289 today.


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