Colombia had to wait for 16 long years to obtain a ticket to the most important soccer event in the world. In Colombia, soccer is the most popular sport, so for nearly a month Colombia’s strong political confrontations and bitter divisions (with presidential elections in May) had a respite, and the country got together to become a 45-million-strong soccer team.
A completely different landscape was seen during that month. Streets were full of flags, vuvuzelas, Colombian T-shirts and all types of merchandise related to the event. Local trade was invaded with World Cup fever; menus included Brazilian words, and newborns were baptized with local player’s names, like James (James Rodriguez), Radamel (Radamel Falcao) and many others. Some organizations like Millward Brown Colombia were also touched by the fever; the building´s terrace became the meeting point to watch the matches and share with colleagues a moment of relaxation, where food and beverages were served.
Soccer was the common vocabulary, with World Cup-related advertisements all over the place. TV, outdoors, shopping malls, internet and social media spoke the same language, and provided space for brands to take advantage of the event. However, not all brands made this connection with consumers.
Some memorable performances
Millward Brown Colombia carried out a 350-interview CAWI study on mobiles, asking people about some key facts of the World Cup. For example, which was the brand that best linked with the World Cup or with the local team, and where did they interact with those brands? The results pointed to Adidas as the winner in this competition, which enjoyed spontaneous recognition by 69% of respondents, climbing up to 78% after the World Cup’s finale. That ranking was closely followed by Coca-Cola with 66%, and Sony in third place with 40%. What do these brands have in common that prompts such awareness levels?
All of them are Official Partners of FIFA; Adidas and Coca Cola have partnered with FIFA since the 70s, when they started building a strong affinity with soccer. Consistency and affinity determine meaningful differentiation from others. Both products played a role during the event; the Adidas T-shirts can be found everywhere in Colombia, and what better than a Coke to share with the family? Nike also made good use of this affinity, even though it does not have any direct relation with FIFA, but with soccer. At 31%, Nike’s level of awareness was higher than other FIFA sponsors.
Adidas also led in terms of linkage with the Colombian team, with 56%. It was the Colombian team’s brand, and the local beer brand Aguila (main partner of the team for more than 20 years) that was also highly linked, with 50%. Affinity with the event determines the bond with brands, as opposed to newcomers with newcomers to the soccer landscape, which cannot be linked easily with the sport.
In this group, we find Mc Donald’s and Hyundai, with 26%; Kia with 18%, and Fly Emirates with 13%, brands that are not well linked to the World Cup. Locally, we can find in this group some sponsors like Homecenter, with 31%, Procter & Gamble, with 26% and Movistar with 22%. But how do people notice these brands? Well, TV is the main channel with 92%, closely followed by Internet and Social Media, with 53%. According to the Argentinean magazine “Marca”, Adidas was the most commented upon brand, with an increase of 5.8M followers among all main social media* outlets.
Digital helps keep the ball in play
Interactions with brands via Social Media, where people can give their opinions on a range of topics, makes a difference for these types of media. Millward’s Brown Ad Reaction study also restates this point. While people usually spend 123 minutes daily watching TV, they spend 165 and 114 minutes daily on computers and smartphones respectively.
According to Spanish daily ABC, Brazil 2014 was the most digital and connected World Cup. More than 2,000 million Google searches done were about the tournament, and there were 300 million tweets compared to 7 million in 2010**.
Digital should be an important focus for advertisers in the near future, as people not only want to watch on TV, but also interact; that, along with portability, makes a difference in the usage of internet and Social Media. Mobile devices where people can have access to any kind of information and interact at the right time are part of this trend, which will determine the new course for advertising.