PR v Marketing at the 2014 World Cup

By Stuart Buchanan, Junior Broadcast Executive at 4mediarelations

PR v Marketing

For the football mad amongst us, Friday 27th June 2014 was a day where we all rubbed our eyes, took stock for the first time in two weeks and, once the haze had cleared, asked ‘Where’s the football gone?’

For football-widows and those just generally not interested in watching millionaires battering a sheep’s bladder around a field, the one day’s respite is sweet relief. Today is the first time in two weeks that there has been no World Cup games as the group stages turn into the knockout rounds. But in terms of marketing and advertising, it’s the first chance to truly calculate how well their ‘World Cup Brazil 2014’-related broadcast campaigns have sunk in and registered within the conscious of the global viewing public.

As you’d expect nowadays, the opening two weeks of the tournament saw some of the world’s biggest brands levering themselves into the ad breaks, pitch-side hoardings and developing associated hashtags as the battle for attention began.

The likes of Adidas, Emirates, Visa and Castrol went in the favourites – their official tie-ins with FIFA guaranteeing them airtime around the world at key broadcast points.

A few weeks back, we looked at how a simple PR campaign that reacts to, or incorporates a news story can, in today’s world of social media, generate as much interest in a product as an official tie-in. Opticians Specsavers and betting firm Paddy Power have created some interesting (and often highly successful) interpretations of this ideal in the past.

In fact, recent research from ‘Unruly’ backs-up the idea that official partnerships no longer guarantee the big money. The most shared advertising video of the World Cup so far have come from some altogether unexpected sources.

Yoghurt-peddlers Danone have created a video for their ‘Activia’ brand which has, so far, garnered 3.9 million views since its release, despite featuring no football and a singer from Brazil’s neighbours Colombia, Shakira – although her World Cup song ‘La La La (Brazil 2014)’, featured in the video.

Further to that, non-sponsor Nike (whose video polled 2nd in the list) more than tripled direct-rivals and official sponsors, Adidas – with Nike’s 2.3m compared to Adidas’ 770,000 views.

The third most popular video came from another non-sponsor, in the form of Samsung’s ‘#Galaxy11’ campaign.

Whilst the highest performing videos featured well-known faces, names and locations, they didn’t enjoy the prime-time placement their similarly ‘celeb-heavy’ counterpoints did.

Effectively, the message coming out of this research is that a well created, clever PR drive can easily out-strip official marketing tie-ins. Consumers are willing to search for a more enjoyable video than those are presented to them as an official package…well, once they’ve taken their eyes of the action.

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