What marketers can learn from past World Cup ad campaigns

It's not every day that half the world is watching your ad. Here's what brands can learn from past campaigns in the lead-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

What marketers can learn from past World Cup ad campaigns

According to Wavemaker, an estimated £115 million (~US$141 million) in additional advertising revenue is set to hit in Q4 2022, driven predominantly by World Cup sponsors.

For brands looking to capitalize on the World Cup to promote their products and services, the irregular schedule of the tournament poses one extra challenge, as it takes place quite close to the Christmas holiday.

Ad campaigns for the World Cup are some of the best around. Football championships are the most watched sporting events on the planet. It's the time when advertisers show off and showcase some of their best ideas. As such, brands can't just throw money at the challenge and expect success. It will be those who plan and flex their creativity that ultimately win out.

Here are two creative World Cup marketing campaigns from the past. From these examples, this year's brands and marketers may learn a thing or two.

Adidas "All or nothing" campaign (FIFA World Cup 2014)

The German brand has a pedigree in relation to the World Cup and football, with many classic matches featuring the iconic three-stripe branding. In 2014, Adidas Football launched its primary campaign titled 'All in or nothing' during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

It filmed a series of YouTube videos with famous football stars such as David Beckham, Lionel Messi, and Pablo Armero to air throughout the tournament.

At the end of each video, Adidas asked viewers to click one of two buttons – 'All in' or 'Nothing.' If the viewer clicked 'All in,' they were taken to a different site where they could then sign up to follow Adidas during the World Cup and be a party to all its social media activity.

This was the brand's most extensive campaign ever in terms of media spend. In addition to high-profile player appearances in the videos, music was a big part of the strategy, with Kanye West debuting his new song 'God Level' as part of the campaign.

The massive display of celebrity endorsement and worldwide recognition meant Adidas gained almost 6 million new fans across its global social channels. There were 38 million YouTube views for clips posted during the World Cup, which sky-rocketed the brand as one of the most viewed sports companies on YouTube.

In addition to video adverts, Adidas also used social media platforms like Twitter to get the audience to talk more about the campaign. Adidas posted from the 'Adidas Football' Twitter account, using the hashtag #Allin after every tweet.

There were 2.1 million #allin hashtag mentions on Twitter. The hashtag also made the rounds on Facebook and Instagram.

Nike "Write the future" campaign (World Cup 2010)

In 2010, Nike broke the record for most-watched viral ad in its first week of release, with its World Cup commercial titled 'Write the future' clocking more than 7.8 million views in the first seven days of the campaign.

The ad was created by Wieden + Kennedy London and directed by Alejandro Gonzále Iñárritu, whose film directing credits include Babel and 21 Grams.

The concept focused on the ripple effect caused by a single dramatic event in a football player's career. The 'Write the future' copy suggested that Nike boots and sportswear would give customers the power to carve out their own athletic destinies in a similar way to the sports stars they idolized on the pitch.

Starring a host of top footballers, including Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, Ronaldinho, Christiano Ronaldo, and Franck Ribery, it showed the life-changing effects that a split second on the pitch can have.

The company also launched an interactive LED screen on Johannesburg's 138-meter tall Southern Life Center skyscraper, encouraging fans to "Write the headline."

The ad was viewed over 20 million times online within five weeks of release and led to over double the social media buzz enjoyed by competitor Adidas.

Save time and money when creating and distributing high-quality PR and branded stories with ContentGrow. Sign up to get your campaign started or book a quick call with our team to learn more.

Book a call with ContentGrow (for brands & publishers) - Enricko Lukman
Thanks for booking a call with ContentGrow, a managed talent network of freelance media professionals ready to serve brands, publishers, and global content teams.Let’s chat a bit about your content needs and see if ContentGrow is the right solution for you!IMPORTANT: To confirm a meeting, we need
hire freelance writers and journalists on ContentGrow