2014 FIFA World Cup Advertisers Focus on Storytelling


Storytelling and sports are a natural fit. Every game features a hero and a villain taking each other on in battle. During the next four weeks, these stories take on an epic, global scale as millions of fans around world tune in to root on their teams in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Advertisers are jostling for their place on the global stage during the tournament, but it’s not easy. Any marketer that wants to stand out must tell a compelling, on-brand story and contribute to the dramas taking place on the pitch. Here are three brands that are doing just that.

Listerine Goes Global
Johnson & Johnson is an official World Cup Sponsor, and its Listerine brand aims to keeps fans up to date on all the stories happening during the tournament via social media. The brand is tweeting in English and Spanish on its newly launched @listerineglobal Twitter account, and it’s posting in multiple languages on its Facebook pages. A television spot airing in 40 countries shows everything fans’ mouths endure during World Cup matches. While it may seem a far stretch between soccer and oral health, the ad makes a fun connection between the two.

Coca-Cola Spreads More Happiness
Also an official sponsor, Coca-Cola maintains its fizzy, optimistic, inclusive brand equity. Via a series of short films, the brand highlights its “The World’s Cup” theme. These films tell the stories of soccer players around the world who have overcome great odds, and many of the videos feature the iconic, solid-gold World Cup trophy. Coca-Cola also revealed the Happiness Flag — a banner featuring photos of millions of soccer fans from around the world — at the opening match.

Nike Attempts to Hijack the Conversation
The athletic brand is trying to steal the thunder of competitor and World Cup sponsor Adidas. Just days before the first World Cup match, Nike put out “The Last Game” video, in which animated versions of some of soccer’s best players fight to preserve the game’s purity and unpredictability. Although Nike can’t directly reference the tournament, there are subtle references throughout the short film. Despite all the other soccer-related hype, the video has garnered nearly 34 million views in just four days. It also does an effective job of driving home Nike Football’s “Risk Everything” tagline.

Whether they’re an official sponsor or bandwagon jumper, marketers who tell great stories associated with the World Cup have an opportunity to build their brands among a large, engaged, global audience. While the three brands we mentioned are off to a strong start, the next four weeks will tell which are best able to accomplish this GOAL!

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Melissa Booth
Melissa Booth

I believe good content either informs or entertains. Great content does both. As Managing Editor for Media is Power and Empower MediaMarketing, I strive to make sure everything here hits that sweet spot as closely as possible. I've spent a decade-plus in the marketing industry and like to think I've developed a taste for content of all types -- good, great and otherwise.