The FIFA World Cup, and the associated excitement around it, has been a tool for marketers almost as long as the competition has existed. Since the 1982 FIFA has had official commercial partners, usually ‘global brands' - not surprisingly Coca-Cola has been the longest serving of these, supporting FIFA for every world cup since 1982. Some, such as McDonalds, came later, in their case from 1994 onwards. Others, such as FujiFilm, supported the organisation and the world cup loyally, but not even the world cup was exposure enough to save them from decline - technological in the case of Fuji, which supported FIFA from 1982-2006. For the 2014 tournament there are six ‘FIFA Partners’, eight ‘World Cup sponsors’ and six ’National Supporters’, brands better known in the home country.
Increasingly, FIFA and national organisers have insisted that stadiums and other activities organised to coincide with the world cup are kept free of any advertising or marketing activity from non-sponsors. Before FIFA did this, television authorities insisted that advertising be kept away from the pitch area, where it might easily be seen on TV. This has meant that ambush marketing as a tactic has a long history associated with the tournament, going back at least to the 1966 competition when Swiss fans carried banners advertising Swiss co-operative stores at Hillsborough stadium, in Sheffield (Chisari, 2007). More recently, at the 2006 world cup, 1,000 Dutch fans watched their country’s match against Ivory Coast in their underwear after organisers confiscated their orange trousers, which had the logo of a Dutch brewery on them (Anheiser Busch’s Budweiser was the official beer - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5091154.stm).
This world cup has already seen a stream marketing and advertising campaigns related to to the world cup. One of the most tangental has been Listerine who seem to be claiming that their product can deal with the damage to football fans’ teeth caused by the FIFA World Cup. On the other hand, Kia’s campaign for the USA would seem entirely tangential to the product being sold. More local businesses have also attempted to take advantage of the world cup for marketing purpose;
the Frenchgate shopping centre in Doncaster offers a ‘World Cup Lounge’, which they claim allows shoppers to ‘cheer on England’, although presumably the shopping centre was not open for England’s 11pm BST kick-off against Italy on Saturday. Perhaps this oversight is why England didn’t win.
Have you seen any tangential, esoteric, or otherwise strange world cup related marketing or advertising? Let us know by commenting below. More on this as the tournament progresses...