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Strategic thinking

It’s (probably not) coming home.

By 20/06/2014January 10th, 2023No Comments

How should reactive marketers handle an almost inevitable World Cup group-stage defeat?

Vicky’s stance on England’s recent performance in the World Cup, and how this will affect the event’s official (and not so official) sponsors’ campaigns.

The bet to go #allin on World Cup sponsorship, with the rules, rigidity, regulations and price tag it brings with it


The flexibility of creating a successful marketing campaign to piggy back on the event (Brandwave accepts no legal responsibility for our use/encouragement of this action), to allow the scope for greater reactivity, a more honest opinion, and a genuine viral approach.

Renowned for our formidable pessimism, all of England will surely now prepare ourselves for the inevitable; England getting knocked out in the group stages of the 2014 World Cup. But which brands’ creative campaign is still able to generate a positive reaction from the fans, in the face of an unsuccessful campaign bid and why?

The key to any brand’s World Cup campaign must surely lie in their ability to align themselves with the values, beliefs, and hopes of the nation they intend to market to. Step forward Paddy Power (the reactive marketing power house) and your OOH ‘Traitor Tony’ #itstreasonseason campaign – we at Brandwave salute you. What a wonderful way to capture the hearts off a nation that is hurting from defeat, whilst shamelessly (yet innovatively) promoting your services. Sometimes as  an agency you have to take a step back and appreciate another agency’s (or in-house team’s) work, and this is what we shall do for this campaign. in our humble opinion it deserves all the retweets it gets.

Image credit:

Then you have your typical sponsors, the ones we come to expect sponsoring a major world sporting event, the ones we all know (whether in the marking industry or not) spend a serious sum of cash to get their name on a few stadium billboards (this is a clear under-exaggeration – but you get the point). The ones who  have a hefty contract telling them what they can and can’t do and say surrounding their World Cup marketing activity. It’s hard to associate a genuine ROI figure on any sponsorship campaign, but in the case of the World Cup I doubt it’s particularly high in countries that get knocked out in the group stages.

We have to ask the question, in a world where we have come to expect an instant social reaction, and an unbiased and genuine brand voice…what is the negative connotation of your brand being associated with yet another unsuccessful campaign?

Of course brands have to keep the faith just as fans do, in the hope that one day it will all be worth it. To be the brand that the die-hard-fan associates with any ‘big win’ can only be a good thing. When Andy Murray won Wimbledon last year, Adidas’ #wimbledone campaign was pure genius. It was shared, retweeted and favourited  beyond belief, by a nation prouder than punch.  It goes without saying that adidas’ long standing and loyal relationship with Andy only served (excuse the pun) to enhance this message. But the reality is that any brand that places a strong emphasis on reactive marketing could have created such a stir, regardless of their relationship with Andy.

Image credit: Adidas

Therefore, when planning your marketing budget this year, perhaps try to leave a little aside for that reactive piece, from that proactive agency…that catapults you into the sight and mindset of your target consumer, at that time when they need it most!

Please note, I haven’t fully given up on England, I’m trying my hardest to keep the faith, but right now I feel that Paddy Power are going further in this World Cup than our men in white (/red), they definitely seem to have more ideas and contingency plans than Roy’s boys. So I look forward to at least being able to watch their World Cup campaign unfold…

Vicky Stickland