Two good, Two Bad: Brand Activations at the 2018 World Cup

It’s no secret that a high-profile, international event like the World Cup poses a rare opportunity for brands to grow their name among a fresh audience. With so many eyes tuned to the television and social media, companies face a unique opportunity to thrust themselves into the spotlight.

Marketing teams are pulling out all the stops in coming up with creative means to make their brands more visible. While some do a great job of partnering with teams and players to feast off their popularity, others’ flaws are only magnified, creating company-defining fiascos.

A look at how some of these brands have activated themselves through the first weeks of the World Cup.

Three UK are using their name’s similarity to England’s nickname, the Three Lions, to get on the bandwagon.

Meanwhile, Wish Shopping has taken the simple route of teaming up with some of the most identifiable stars of the tournament. The one below involves Neymar, but the brand have worked with stars like Gareth Bale who aren’t going to the World Cup in order to promote their campaign.

Unfortunately, not every company has the intelligence or foresight to take advantage of this massive event, which has actually led to some negative press.

The Spanish Mastercard Twitter account attempted what they probably imagined was an earnest, philanthropic event, which was to donate 10,000 meals to the World Food Programme for every goal scored by Messi or Neymar.

As many have pointed out, every great save made by a goalkeeper would effectively be taking away a meal – the same goes for the newly arrived VAR.

At least Mastercard’s idea (hopefully) came from an honest place. The Russian social media account for Burger King posted some horrifying advertising a few weeks ago, offering women money and a lifetime supply of Whoppers if they were to get impregnated by footballers in the World Cup.

On a much less obviously problematic note, there’s bookmaker William Hill.

Was it savvy marketing to snap up the #ItsComingHome hashtag and add their own emoji to it? Or was it a cynical ploy to hijack a hashtag that’s become synonymous with England’s exciting campaign?

The pitfalls of companies desperate to gain attention at the World Cup are there for all to see.

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