After a controversial start, the World Cup has turned out to be a huge success, at least as a football competition. After many upsets, including the Arab nation (Morocco) reaching the semi-finals, the iconic Lionel his Messi is the best final in living memory, according to experts in his FIFA he World Cup trophy capped off his illustrious career.
But what about the World Cup as a marketing ‘event’? Few events in the sports calendar can match the World Cup when it comes to marketing possibilities.
As such, sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Budweiser and McDonald’s pay an estimated average of over £50 million to attend the games.
And while you would normally expect other brands to have their own vigorous promotions, FIFA’s expensive and unwieldy commercial machines through national team, individual player, and more generally beautiful game endorsements. Slalom skillfully.
However, it’s been expected since 2022, so don’t expect anything.
As the first-ever winter World Cup, it faces competition from an even bigger commercial venture, Christmas. And the first Christmas in years not affected by Covid. And guess what? Lost the World Cup.
Gareth Turner, director at Big Black Door and former head of marketing at Weetabix, said: ”
Sure, there are big sponsors involved. But it’s much more muted. At least at UK level.
Coca-Cola ran a limited on-pack promotion, with a modest prize pool. 10,000 World Cup-branded soccer balls could be won. This is not the giveaway we are used to. Free flight and accommodation to the lucky on-pack winners, and some trips to open the deal.
But this Scrooge-like approach is pretty conscious. And it’s not just the cost of living crisis.
A senior executive at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners said: Lead time is usually long. But as soon as Halloween is over, it’s time to head to Christmas. After the event, you may quickly need to sell the advertised bottles at a significant discount through deals. ”
Moy Park also has an on-pack promotion thanks to parent company Marfrig sponsoring the World Cup. However, the branding seems somewhat toned down compared to previous incarnations.
As for Budweiser, the decision to ban alcohol sales in Qatar’s stadiums days before the competition probably wasn’t the strong endorsement AB InBev had hoped for. With the edition’s FIFA World Cup branded packaging introduced, it was hard to get excited about the revitalization in the UK. In fact, Budweiser made more noise about the England women’s team with his 150,000 bottle Tesco giveaway.
So is guerrilla marketing. The World Cup’s most-watched guerrilla PR stunt – Brewdog’s anti-advertising campaign – was a spectacular own goal. Dropped out of the competition, so it leveled off a bit. And the fact that the Warburtons were promoting football crumpets really says it all.
So the World Cup was a bit of a wet squib marketing-wise. It turns out not to be as big of an attraction for punters as FIFA thinks. The combination of a longer competition (albeit only three days), the start of summer vacation for many schoolchildren (rather than carol services or nativity play rehearsals), and warmer weather in the usual summer slot makes football itself world cup success.
Of course, there has also been a lot of notoriety surrounding Qatar for its treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ groups. Not to mention the circumstances in which Qatar secured the World Cup in the first place due to alleged bribery of FIFA officials. For brands, Qatar and FIFA do not fit well into the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda.
But when it comes to marketing, Christmas ruined the World Cup. Richard Buchanan, founding partner and his director of consulting at The Clearing, said: The December Footfall goes to whoever wins Christmas, not the World Cup. ”