Having worked in Hispanic marketing for most of my career, I have always believed sports to be one of the key passion points for reaching Latinos, particularly soccer – or, rather, futbol.
Being in the throes of World Cup, the passion and excitement for the sport is ubiquitous among U.S. Latinos. But this futbol fever is not just present every four years during the biggest tournament in the world. For Latinos, soccer is part of our culture; our upbringing. Regardless of your brand’s origins, this love of the game can teach marketers:
1. Honor for one’s country – If there’s ever a time when Latinos will rally behind their home
country, it is during soccer matches. Soccer brings out pride and honor, and it’s a reminder of where we come from. A few years ago, Coca-Cola created a replica of Mexico’s
Angel de la Independencia (Angel of Independence), a monument where Mexicans normally gather after a big win. The replica followed the Mexican National Team’s
U.S. tour, allowing fans to celebrate as if they were in their home country.
2. Its ability to bond – Soccer serves as a platform to establish commonality with others, which can turn into a passion shared with new friends. Brands looking for an entry point into Hispanic marketing should consider the sport. The key to standing out from other sponsors and avoiding something stereotypical is to think of creating an experience for consumers. Everyone is looking for an “Instagramable” moment they can share with others; brands that give fans access to an experience they wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere will create a stronger relationship with consumers.
3. A sense of belonging – When it comes to sports marketing, it’s not just about putting a logo on a POS display or creating a TV spot. Brands must fully immerse themselves in the sport and consumer experience. Whether that’s connecting with fans at retail while they shop for their viewing party essentials, on social media where they check scores and standings, or by offering them unique experiences through sweepstakes and contests that bring them closer to the sport, brands must demonstrate their commitment and act like the twelfth player on the field in order to establish a genuine connection.
4. A religious experience – Beyond following rituals that will hopefully impact the outcome of the game, fans frequently idolize players. They turn them into saints and gods of the sport that are immortalized in figurines and prayer cards. El Jimador tequila understood this adoration and made 10 fans’ dreams come true by giving them the opportunity to play against retired soccer stars as part of a consumer promotion. For these lucky fans, it was the opportunity of a lifetime and it solidified their relationship with the brand.
With the 2026 World Cup taking place in North America, brands will have a great opportunity to connect with Latinos. And if they do it correctly, they just might hear the beloved “Gooooooooal!”