Why This World Cup Marks a New Era For Marketers

world cup logo

The World Cup has always been the biggest sporting event in the world and despite how highly the Americans regard their precious SuperBowl, it pales in comparison. The 2014 Superbowl was the most watched U.S telecast ever with a record 115 millions views. As impressive as that sounds, American Football, as its name suggests has geographical limitations to its reach. To put it in context, the last World Cup had over 3.2 billion viewers.

Because the rules of Football require 45 minutes of uninterrupted play, advertisers are limited to the amount of ads they show during games. However, this World Cup shows the dawn of in-game ads with Ireland’s very own RTE vowing to show ads during water breaks. FIFA have sanctioned a 3 minute water break during each half (at the 30th and 75th minute respectively). This gives the players a chance to re-hydrate while it gives television broadcasters a chance to line their pockets.

These ‘Water Breaks’, not so subtlety coincide with an increasing interest in football amongst U.S sports fans, where the sport has never been more popular. The MLS is snowballing with momentum and channels like FOX and ESPN are showing Football round the clock. As the U.S is still the holy grail of consumers, the pressure from major advertisers is obvious.

The other reason that this World Cup marks a new era for marketing is how prominent mobile has become on the digital marketing landscape over the last four years. During the last world cup final, 20% of online searches came from mobile while in comparison, 53% of search UK traffic about the 2014 Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich came from mobile. This along with an Nielsen’s study of American smartphone and tablet users (which showed 84% used their gadgets while watching TV) shows a distinct shift towards ‘dual screening’.

This is a perfect time for brands to employ well timed ‘push notifications’ (half time, full time etc.). What we will also see at this World Cup is brands capitilising on mobile marketing and using digital signage around the playing fields to display dynamic content captured by fans. Would you endorse a brand by sharing it’s hash-tag in order to get Twitter handle displayed to a few million people?

This is simply the tip of the iceberg in terms of new marketing techniques used during the worlds biggest sports tournament. I’ll do my best to share what i notice over the next few weeks as I try to catch as many matches in as I can. For research of course…




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