Wisdom.Applied Wednesday: Americans, Advertisers and the World Cup

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The 2014 FIFA World Cup is just fifteen days away, and advertisers all over the world are gearing up for the event. Of course, American advertisers might have to try a little harder than marketers in other countries.

Ad Age summed up the American World Cup ad game pretty succinctly with an article title: “Here’s How ESPN is Trying to Convince Americans to Care About World Cup Soccer.” Even though Soccer is the most popular sport in the word, with FIFA estimating that 250 million people play the game (in other words, if soccer players were a country, they’d be the fourth largest country in the world), Americans as a whole aren’t that enthused about the game.

 

 

As an American who’s a soccer fan, I always seem to be defending myself as to why I love to watch soccer. I’ve even got an elevator pitch lined up for when people tell me it’s boring, and it boils down to this: soccer is a dramatic, high-intensity, low-scoring game of moments (which may or may not be paraphrased from an Abby Wambach interview). I, for one, can’t understand how a population who cares so much about baseball (one of the most boring games to watch on TV—and this is coming from a college softball player) finds a sport where people are in constant motion “boring.” Maybe it’s just because they don’t understand the laws of the game (soccer doesn’t have rules, it has laws which just places it higher on the scale of awesome sports).

Maybe it’s because I was a goalie on a team with killer defenders growing up (where I naturally ended up watching more than playing) or that I got to experience what the energy of a World Cup was like elsewhere when studying abroad in England, but soccer is up there with American football and hockey as my favorite sports to watch.

At any rate, FIFA and its brand partners will be working hard in the U.S. to get the attention of Americans (other than me) on the game, and this Wisdom.Applied Wednesday, we’re featuring some of the ads from FIFA’s brand partners and rating them based on story, brand identity and reach. (One soccer ball is the lowest, five is the highest). Let’s face it, advertisers have their work cut out for them with this task.

 

Adidas—“The Dream: all in or nothing”

 

 

Adidas features Argentina’s Lionel Messi (along with several other soccer stars) in this World Cup ad. The spot has a strong story in Messi’s World Cup dream land, and it captures the excitement and emotions of the game. Also, the brand message fits in perfectly. The video was posted just four days ago and already has almost 30 million views on YouTube.

Rating: 4/5 soccer balls

 

Coca-Cola—“Welcome to the World’s Cup”

 

 

Coca-Cola nails the spirit of the World Cup with this ad. As the world’s favorite sport, Soccer is the every man’s sport. And every four years, the world is invited to watch, relish and celebrate the games.

Rating: 4.5/5 soccer balls

 

Hyndai—“The Beginning”

 

 

Hyndai is on the journey to the World Cup in this spot. While the anticipation for the games propels this commercial, the ad falls pretty flat (and this is not just me being resentful for not winning their sweepstakes from the auto show for World Cup tickets).

Rating: 2/5 soccer balls

 

Sony—“One  Stadium Live”

 

 

In the “moments” discussed earlier, superstars and heroes of the game can be born at the World Cup—especially with the on-going real-time conversations on social media during the games. Sony perfectly captures these two details while promoting its One Stadium Live product with this spot.

Rating: 5/5 soccer balls

 

Visa—“World, Welcome to the 2014 FIFA World Cup”

 

 

As posted with the spot on YouTube, “This epic football chant was sung by the Children’s Choir of Petropolis.” While the spot is pretty cool, with 100 Brazilian children belting the chants from every country represented in the World Cup from a mountaintop in Rio, the entire spot drags a bit. Visa did split the spots into groups for 60-second spots, which picks up the pace a bit. Additional Visa spots use humor to drive the story, unfortunately, they’re not in English.

Rating: 3/5 soccer balls

 

Budweiser—“Believe as One”

 

 

This Spring, Budweiser has been releasing spots for its “Rise as One” campaign—a six part documentary series that highlights how the World Cup is an event that brings the world together (which is another thing that makes this game beautiful). Yesterday, they posted the “Breaking Barriers: United States vs. Iran, 1998 World Cup,”  which focused on how the game can even bring countries with poor foreign relations together and how on the pitch, politics can sit on the sidelines.

Rating: 4/5 soccer balls

 

Cover Photo Source: Sandro Donda / Shutterstock.com

Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.