Paddy Power Surprise Hit In First Social World Cup

If we need proof that this World Cup is the social World Cup, it comes each morning when fans in Europe decide to check out what happened half way round the world in the early hours of the morning. 

Chances are they might have stumbled upon the scores from the previous night's games, but seeing the goals is something altogether more complicated. Do you wait for the half-hourly bulletins on rolling news, as British fans are used to? Do you check out a News UK title online as the Times subscribers have become accustomed to over the last season as they search for Premier League goals? To be honest, the former isn't great, and the second isn't possible.

So, no. Fans are turning to social media, and that's why ITV and Paddy Power have got it so right. There are short clips of the most decisive goals of the night -- such as the USA's last-gasp winner versus Ghana -- plus links to fuller highlights hosted by ITV. The sealing today of an official partnership for the rest of the tournament between the two just shows how well it must be working.

So the elephant in the room is this. Actually, there are probably two elephants. Why isn't there a national newspaper teaming up with a broadcaster to carry goals and highlights video clips, as per the Premier League? And the main one: Why is ITV in partnership with Paddy Power? It is, of course, self-explanatory why the BBC -- which also carries clips --doesn't co-brand its highlights.

It could be a paper wasn't interested -- or more likely, free highlights on the BBC Web site meant a package was less appealing?

Whatever the reason, it has meant that -- certainly for me -- Paddy Power is standing out as the brand that has made the biggest gain from the World Cup and it's done it through social media. Not all its jokes hit the right mark, but its page is full of interesting and amusing Vine videos featuring pundits drying up, footballers making mistakes and so on is genuinely good fun.

With the official Fifa app on a smartphone for fixtures and scores, the main additional content anyone wants is quick access to the key goals they've missed. Sure, it's great to delve into the stats and join in the conversations with a famous sports brand on Twitter or through their dedicated app but it's the needs that people fulfill first. Seeing crucial goals you've missed is far and away at the top of the pile.

I say it nearly every time I talk about marketing 00 but digital moves the game along from shouting about how great you are to truly understanding the customer and being useful. 

Paddy Power, with its ITV deal, has proven it understands this more than any other brand I've interacted with around the World Cup.

Cast your mind back a couple of weeks and many familiar brands were mentioned as being primed to win the World Cup in social media. The main discussion was how you didn't necessarily have to be a sponsor to do well. 

Just think -- the brand that has stood out the most, at least for me, wasn't even mentioned. It wasn't even on anyone's mind.

Like putting 5 past Spain or a last-minute Swiss or American surprise winner, Paddy Power has truly come out of nowhere to prove of most use to the football fan wondering what happened while they were sleeping or living it up on the town. 

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