World Cup Advertising Wars: How To Compete with the Big Guys

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The World Cup hype has officially started!  And if you’re in Marketing/ Advertising, you’re probably keeping a close eye on the various campaigns that have been introduced to pay homage to one of the world’s most watched sporting events.

FIFA World Cup 2014

Some of the first to release their campaigns were the big soda brands.  World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola and competitor Pepsi have both recently launched TV spots, and there’s already lots of chatter on who got it right.  That answer might seem subjective to most.  But as Marketers know, putting together a campaign that speaks to the right audience takes more than luck.  It takes planning and strategy.  It takes understanding of various brand segments and how to reach them on a personal level.  And it takes knowing that powerful stories about the people behind a brand reside in unfiltered data.

That being said, it can be assumed that both Coca-Cola and Pepsi did lots of research for their campaigns, utilizing large budgets and plenty of time to plan (Coca-Cola apparently began planning back in 2012, and World Cup 2014 stands as their largest campaign ever!).

But for those agencies that might not have the dollars or time to spend on such intensive research- there are simple ways to accomplish a similar goal of understanding audiences by looking at some easily accessible data.  We’ll show you how.  And we’ll also come to our own conclusion, based on our own data, on which soda brand might have the slight advantage in the World Cup campaign wars.

Social- The Secret Sauce

Social has become a very viable option when it comes to gathering insights about your audience.  It’s as easy as picking a social segmentation tool and diving in to all of the data.

We’ve started our own segmentation analysis with a historical snapshot of the FIFA audience, or the last 500 people who have engaged with @FIFAWorldCup on Twitter.   That breakdown shows the highest engagement came from ‘Wholesome Males’, as seen below:

Top Personas for the last 500 people to engage with @FIFAWorldCup on Twitter.

‘Wholesome Males’ are top engagers on Twitter for the @FIFAWorldCup audience.

‘Wholesome’ indicates personality traits like down-to-earth, honest, family oriented, sincere, real and sentimental.  A ‘Wholesome’ person might respond best to campaigns based on truth, openness and emotion (more about ‘Personality Identification’ through social can be found here– very interesting stuff!).

Hot on the trails of those ‘Wholesome’ males are ‘Rugged’ males, with their own set of unique traits that gets them excited.  It’s advantageous for Marketers to look into both groups to see what makes each of them tick.

Hash Out the Hashtags

Now take the analysis a step further, and look at the ‘real-time’ breakdown of the FIFA audience.  In addition to those folks who are currently engaging with the @FIFAWorldCup Twitter handle, you might also be interested in the people who are using the top three most popular Twitter hashtags for the World Cup in general (which are #WorldCup, #Brazil, and #WorldCup2014).  The new analysis looks like this:

FIFA Active 4-15 Screenshot

A ‘real-time’ breakdown of the soccer audience also shows ‘Wholesome’ engagement.

Not surprisingly, the @FIFAWorldCup audience and those using the most popular World Cup hashtags look very similar.  Looking ahead, a Marketer can be confident that the ‘Wholesome’ and ‘Rugged’ males should be the right audience to go after for a campaign.

Your Own Hashtags- Who’s Engaging?

Last, if you’ve created and launched campaign hashtags, it might be beneficial to analyze the people who are chiming in with those hashtags on social, as long as there’s some good traction.  Today, both Coke and Pepsi have launched hashtags for their World Cup campaigns (#WorldsCup and #LiveForNow, respectively).  Traction was highest during the release of the campaigns, and has now subsided.

However, as engagement with these hashtags increases again, which should be a top goal for both brands, Marketers can analyze what types of people the online campaigns are attracting and figure out ways to target those audiences better.  We’ve started a new analysis on Coke’s hashtag engagement moving forward, and will report back in an upcoming blog.

Coke's FIFA World Cup hashtag campaign analysis

So what does all of this tell you about launching your own World Cup (or any other) campaign? The point is that social data matters, and so do the people behind that data.  If you can dig into that data enough to understand your audience on a very deep and personal level, then you’ve automatically pushed ahead of your competition when it comes to planning the tone and messages within your various campaigns.

Who Wins the Soda War?

The Coca-Cola campaign plays to inclusiveness, youth, uniqueness, togetherness, grandiosity and social good (think ‘Wholesome’).  The Pepsi campaign plays towards celebrity, playfulness, music, creativity, art and fun (think ‘Sophisticated’ or ‘Daring’).  According to our analysis of the FIFA audience, our vote goes to Coke.  But hats off to both campaigns!

Next week we’ll take a look at changes to the @FIFAWorldCup Personas as engagement increases, which might cause Marketers to tweak their real-time campaigns.  And we’ll compare two new ‘Big Brand’ campaigns that have staked their claim on the World Cup turf.

Want to start your own segmentation and hashtag analysis? Click here.

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