footballerWhy aren’t you joining in? Where’s your sense of patriotism? Everyone else seems to be singing it, have you not noticed? Well maybe this will get your attention. The World Cup is almost upon us. It’s estimated to be worth £1.25bn to retailers this year, and that’s just with England’s usual quarter final place. A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that nearly 15 per cent of consumers intend to buy more if England win in South Africa, both because of the celebrations that could follow and through feel-good purchases. That eventuality could result in another 500 million pound spending spree! Woooohooooo! But can you get any of that spending power to come your way? What if you’re not a retailer, can you increase your sales by joining in on ‘World cup fever’?

Well, the short answer is yes. And no. Yes it can help you, but not always, if you don’t do it properly it’ll probably hinder you instead. Read on, devout supporter…

If spending is attached to excitement about the world cup, then you can cash in on that, in theory. Tesco’s will be doing it as the ‘official supermarket of the England team’. They’ll be selling St. George’s flag pizzas, themed beer offers and a lot more TV’s. They hope. They’ll be ‘joining in’, ‘supporting’ and ‘cheering on’. They’ll be spending on marketing to reap the extra cash that’s floating around.

But what if your product or service is in competition with the World Cup? We were recently asked by a client to combat the World Cup as direct competition to their leisure activity. We did, with the realisation that where there are suporters wanting to spend to join in on the celebrations, there are also those that want to spend to get away from it. But we didn’t alienate football lovers either. That’s the thing, it’s a fine balancing act which depends on your market, your product and your brand.

Maybe you shouldn’t even mention the World Cup. There will be an awful lot of world-cup related marketing going on; so won’t you get lost in the melee? Think about it; you sell carrots, and your friend sells camels. In a normal month, anyone can tell the difference between your communications. But now? If you’ve both decided to piggy-back the World Cup then your communications could end up looking pretty similar. Before you know it, everyone’s eating camel and coriander soup, and trekking from Marrakech to Erg Chebbi might take a little longer than it used to.

And then there’s the credibility issue; piggy-backing on an event when you’re not a sponsor of it – doesn’t do a lot for your profile does it? And if you’re not a sponsor, then FIFA are being much more vigilant this time around on the subject of even mentioning the World Cup. Adidas are the official sports sponsors this time around and Nike is expected to try and upstage them with ‘ambush marketing’ techniques. They have have been warned, and we’ll watch to see which method works best this time. The people will decide whether authentic broadcast sponsors or edgy hijackers are the winners. Maybe that’s one for the big boys to worry about.

And of course, none of this really has the same impact in the rest of the UK we suppose. Surely in Scotland a spending spree might be triggered by Argentina beating England again!

And a final thought, we know that some believe that the World Cup runs rings around any other worldwide sporting event, but this one could be a practice run for the Olympics couldn’t it? Bigger stage, bigger opportunities? More varied sports surely mean more opportunity for creative executions and messages? And let’s not forget the main difference between the two; the Olympics is on your doorstep! This country will be the centre of the world for the month that the games are on. People will be looking to the UK, and everyone already here will be thinking about the world. So, especially if you’re a global player you can both reach a more global audience and educate a home-grown one into thinking more globally. Win-win. Collect your medal from the podium.

So the answer is, as it often seems to be, a bit of both. If an event that resides in our consciousness is very relevant to your offering, then get on it, but do it properly. There’s nothing less attention-grabbing than ‘me-too’.

If you do in fact sell carrots, don’t stretch your marketing model to include giving away free footballs and pendants, other things will work better. Give us a call and we’ll work out a strategy that will work with you.

Kung-fu Carrot Safari’s anyone?

Milton Bayer

Milton Bayer

We are Milton Bayer, an award winning, multi-disciplinary, strategic and creative marketing agency.

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