I know, I know, a lot of you Team USA readers are probably bitterly watching games, cursing your luck, and all you need is an English dude rubbing in how amazing the World cup is going. But fear not. I am Welsh, and similarly bitter! So, let’s focus on the day job of being awesome marketers (as well as soccer/football fans). Here are five great (and not so great) marketing campaigns that you might have missed:
This video advert from McDonald’s shows great empathy for the roller-coaster of feelings that the millions of fans are feeling as they watch the events in Russia unfold from all around the world.
Despite retiring from the Swedish national team, L.A.-owning Zlatan still makes the headlines — this time courtesy of Visa, and his decision to qualify for the World Cup on his own. He also exhibited major brand-collaboration qualification by posting on his own Facebook page to get the sharing underway.
This clip from Guy Richie covers the back stories of some global stars playing at the tournament. Shot in a documentary style with some quirky animation and cameos, it feels fresh. It's a warm, heartfelt departure from the heavily produced, star-studded efforts from reival Adidas.
Amid all of this joy, wry humor and shareable content, Getty Images have been in a storm due to an incredibly inappropriate posting of a set of female fan pictures labelled “World Cup 2018: The Sexiest Fans.” These were subsequently withdrawn and prompted an apology note from Getty's editors. Credit for the quick and definitive response, but the damage to their reputation has been done.
Burger King’s global reputation has also taken a hit, with its Russian operations drawing deserved criticism for publishing an ad that promised Russian women a lifetime of free sandwiches and a cash prize if they got pregnant with the child of a World Cup soccer player. Disgusting stuff, and regardless of the intended message or humor, a huge warning to brands to closely monitor their output at all times.
To end on my favorite, KFC South Africa produced an ad that really does manage to strike a knowing nod to the less favorable aspects of football, while still celebrating its true spirit. An incredible number of international platforms are sharing it, and its all over social media — true viral content.
What can we learn?
Managing to cut through online is tough at the best of times, but achieving it during the world’s biggest sporting event is impressive.
The key to the best of this content is brands establishing that they “get” what the fans are going through watching the tournament, tapping into all of the humor and emotion — in the right way.