While the Super Bowl may be the biggest annual advertising event in the U.S., it pales in comparison to the stage set for brands every four years during the World Cup. This year, 112 million people watched the Super Bowl. More than three billion people watched the 2010 World Cup, and 715 million watched the finals alone.
And the World Cup doesn’t just draw a big audience; it drives a big, passionate audience. So it’s no wonder that brands are clamoring to become the one most associated with this pinnacle of sporting events.
To date, more than 20 brands have released more than 40 World Cup campaigns that have garnered more than 268 million views., from drink companies (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Gatorade), to beer brands (Budweiser, Carlsberg, and Heineken), car brands (Hyundai), and food brands (McDonald’s), among others.
But more than 197 million of those views can be attributed to just three brands: Nike, Adidas, and Samsung.
Nike and Adidas have been rivals in soccer gear for two decades. Nowhere is the apparel brands rivalry on better display than in its World Cup marketing activities. Adidas launched the first of its six campaigns in November, and Nike launched the first of its four campaigns in December.
Yet even with two fewer campaigns, there is no question that Nike is winning the battle. It’s garnered more than 101.7 million views to Adidas’ 57.7 million views.
Nike’s most successful campaign is “Risk Everything.” It accounts for 92 million of the brand’s total views, which makes it the second-most-viewed campaign in 2014, to date. The most popular of the campaign’s videos, “Winner Stays,” is a four-minute spot featuring kids who envision themselves as Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, and other soccer stars.
Adidas’ most successful campaign was released on Saturday and has already garnered more than 30 million views in less than a week. “The Dream”features soccer superstars like Lionel Messi dreaming about the upcoming tournament, set to a soundtrack by Kanye West.
Samsung, a brand that has no real connection to soccer, is the second-most-viewed of World Cup brands. It’s generated more than 76.7 million views, with just two campaigns -- “Galaxy 11” and “The Training” -- that tell one story. The most famous soccer players in the world must team up to save earth from an impending alien invasion. Those players include Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, and Ronaldo, among eight others.
Samsung shows that even without a solid connection to the sport itself, a brand can ambush the tournament with the right content, especially if it employs some famous faces.