The World Cup, advertising and originality

The European domestic leagues may be finished, but there is plenty of football for fans of the beautiful game to look forward to this summer with the sport’s pinnacle, gold ribbon event, the World Cup less than two weeks away.

Brands, as well as fans are getting excited by the commercial opportunities presented by this truly global event. No wonder! As Fifa’s research found that the 2010 World Cup reached audiences in 214 territories and a total in-home audience reach of 3.2 billion.

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Little wonder that some of the world’s biggest brands have already started their marketing and advertising campaigns ahead of the event, but will any of them be memorable? Will originality, creativity and perhaps an entrepreneurial attitude towards risk-taking allow brands to gain new customers, or increase the loyalty of current customers – we will know shortly. Already though it seems as though one brand has fallen victim to blindly repeating past-success.

Nike have introduced yet another Cristiano Ronaldo focused advert ahead of this summer’s World Cup. One blog article on the advert caught my eye in particular, strongly arguing that the advert looks just like previous Nike football ads. Comments and social media reaction to the article suggest it has divided opinion. On the one hand, many think that the advert works it in its current format, a classic example of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Others agree with the article’s author. The brand needs to refresh, innovate and show more imagination.

With the excitement building up to the start of the World Cup intensifying over the next few days, brands will be looking to engage audiences with compelling content and a message that resonates with their key audience. Innovative advertising and marketing that connects emotionally with the audience is fundamental to achieving this, and therefore securing a return on investment.

Brands are fighting to be noticed and the competition is at its most cut-throat intense around big events like the World Cup; this makes taking a risk is all the more important and creating an absorbing narrative vital too.


The Superbowl earlier this year has shown once again some great examples of innovative marketing. Cadbury’s for example referred to American football as “that US Rugby stuff” whilst JC Penney led those in the Twitter-sphere to believe they were tweeting drunk.

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For more inspiration from the Superbowl look no further than this roundup.

The World Cup represents such a huge, unique and truly global opportunity for brands. They should make use of it. And remember no vuvuzelas. It’s Brazil not Africa. We want to see dancing and the Copacabana.

And who knows, maybe England will do well.