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What Brands Got Mobile Marketing Right at the 2014 World Cup

What Brands Got Mobile Marketing Right at the 2014 World Cup

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When the World Cup’s final whistle blew this weekend, making Germany the 2014 winner (for the fourth time since 1930, if you consider West Germany wins), global brands also looked back at what worked and didn’t work with their mobile marketing strategies.

The opportunities for smart brands abound at events like the World Cup and the Summer and Winter Olympics. In fact, an IAB study released just before the event, “2014 World Cup: A Global Mobile Perspective” found an unprecedented consumer willingness to reach into their pocket: 68 percent were willing to pay for World Cup video content, with the Brits leading at 80 percent, followed by 78 percent of Mexico respondents and 74 percent of Colombians. Soccer fans were also willing to interact with mobile ads: more than a third of respondents said they clicked on mobile ads daily. So who were the brands who best capitalized on this opportunity?


German brand Adidas and its American competitor Nike have long been locked in battle over the minds and wallets of soccer fans around the world. But while Adidas is a world cup sponsor, at a hefty price tag, Nike is not; Adidas certainly scored big as the official kit supplier for both finalists, Germany and Argentina, and yet Nike made its presence felt twice as much on social networks through their multi-platform Nike Risk Everything Campaign (and, of course, those bright neon shoes). In video content viewership and social media mentions, Nike had twice the consumer buzz and engagement as Adidas. Two of their videos Winner Stays (84 million views) and The Last Game (59 million views) are two of most watched digital video brand campaigns ever and the campaign overall generated more than 6 billion impressions in 35 countries with at least one-third (1/3) of those impressions on mobile devices according to data provided by Nike to Forbes.

What they did right: Didn’t get hung up on the physical reality that their teams didn’t make it through to the final and instead focused on content, content, great mobile content!


The global payments behemoth is a traditional sponsor of sporting events like the Olympics but this is only the second time as an official sponsor of the World Cup. At their size, they have sizable budgets to play around with and build multi-channel, multi-pronged campaigns. Money isn’t everything, of course, and many large multi-channel campaigns can fall flat. But this year Visa put their giant budgets to good use and scored a winning goal with their “United in Rivalry” video spot, which brought together Nobel Peace nominees and laureates from across the world, folks like Bob Geldorf and Lech Walesa, in a fun and contextually smart way, one of the many components of their umbrella “Everywhere You Want to Be” platform which set out to make home viewers feel as though they were in Brazil. The campaign consisted of television commercials and digital activations that brought in 100 million interactions on social media (likes, shares, comments), more than 75 million video views, and more than 1.4 billion digital impressions according to Visa CMO Kevin Burke in an interview with

What they did right: Visa’s Everywhere You Want to Be campaign was idea-centric and channel agnostic, but completely optimized for mobile.

Runner- Ups:

Twitter gets a shout-out for their clever  #hashflags (#USA, #BRA, #FRA, etc) that introduced that country’s flag after the respective three letter code. But this was just dusting off their 2010 idea, so not entirely new.

Beats by Dr. Dre is also worth mentioning both for its ambush-marketing tactics and for its smart approach to video content, in which it emulates Nike to a certain degree, as evidenced by their 5-minute YouTube commercial featuring Brazilian star Neymar Jr. listening to advice from his father on Beats headphones. “Run like you’re a crazy man chasing happiness,” his father tells him. Not a peep about the World Cup, since they’re not sponsors, but they wedged themselves into it anyway…