How Brands are Scoring

27 Jun 2014|jhall

It’s interesting observing the experience of the World Cup in the US through the eyes of a European. Colleagues in the tech capital SF tell me it’s barely registering, except among the Hispanic population. In NYC, it’s a different story. For a country that’s been immune to football’s global addiction, there’s a shift in train. Ethnic groups previously described as ‘minorities’ have for some time defined what constitutes the New American Mainstream – in terms of culture, values and behaviours, but also increasingly in terms of population numbers. The passion that Hispanics in particular have for the game is helping seed the already fertile ground. Add to that the last-gasp drama of the US victory over Ghana, and you get that uncanny feeling of being present at a tipping point.

Brand owners have their cultural antennae sharpened. They recognize that these are a precious  few weeks that have the power to make and break brands.  Big players are doing what big players do. There is a lot of TV advertising for beer and automotive brands, as well as sportswear. Nike, Adidas, Kia, Hyundai and Budweiser have invested heavily. Samsung Galaxy also features strongly, and Activia’s use of Shakira on conjunction with the World Food Programme is having impact.

The tournament’s far from over yet, but so far the surprises are those brands that have developed content that demonstrates an authentic feel for the game and empathy with the ordinary folk who are its main participants and audience. ESPN, Itau and Banco de Chile in particular stand out for me. What would I like to see more of? Initiating multiple storylines across multiple channels; personalized content; experiences wrapped around the advertising; evidence of doing, not just saying. Hopefully, when I’m in Brazil in a week’s time, I’ll see some more of this.

The other big winner of note is YouTube – in the first week of the World Cup, 1.2 billion minutes’ worth of ads were viewed: that’s four times the number of minutes spent watching SuperBowl ads. And brands in YouTube’s Top 10 grew their channel subscriber base by 18%. That’s news for brand owners.


Written by Jonathan Hall, President Consulting Added Value North America

Image credit: Kantar

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