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Score a World Cup worthy marketing campaign this summer

The FIFA 2018 World Cup kicks off in a few short weeks and as the excitement builds and the players travel to Russia amid the 14th June, you may begin to notice many brands launch marketing campaigns with an ironic football theme.


As well as being the year’s biggest sporting event globally, the World Cup is one of the most prominent marketing opportunities. Given the global focus on the sporting event and the 32 countries taking part in it, companies fight for those pricey TV rights and sponsorship deals.


In 2014 The World Cup drew in 3.2 billion viewers. The final match between Argentina and Germany attracted a record 1.013 billion viewers, which is 25% of the entire population of the planet.


For more than 40 years, brands like Coca Cola and Adidas have established remarkable relationships with the World Cup and are instantly associated with the tournament. Recently, bosses at Coca Cola signed a contract extending their relationship with FIFA until 2030.


This year brands leading the way with marketing include:




Lidl have previously admitted that their marketing strategy rarely lends itself to digital marketing ROI. However, this time they have excelled themselves. Their new World Cup TV ad premiered yesterday on ITV and marked their status as the supermarket of choice for the England team. The ad features England players Gary Cahill, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling interacting with young players. With the strapline Dream Big with Lidl and the Lidl logo dotted around the advert on the children’s shirts and pitch side advertising boards the campaign appeals to parents and also highlights their initiatives and opportunities for kids aged five to 11 to play football in the last three years. Now that’s a positive brand message!


The campaign will feature across, TV, cinema, social, radio, online video and in key London rail station billboards such as Waterloo and London Bridge and in print such as national newspapers and magazines.




Paired with the hashtag #lightuptheworldcup Budweiser launched their amazing global World Cup advert on the 8th May. The advert features flying bots leaving the Budweiser HQ in Missouri and delivering beer to some of the biggest football supporting cities in the world (Moscow, Rio De Janerio, Lagos, London and Shanghai) and their stadiums, pubs and subways.


Described as Budweisers biggest ever campaign, the ad captures the euphoric energy of the sporting event and references Budweiser’s link between game excitement and their drink. The campaign is generating plenty of noise on social media and the hashtag has already reached 2.7 million unique Twitter users according to Keyhole.


Paddy Power

Surely it would be unjust to not include a betting company on this list considering the revenue they make from sporting events such as the World Cup.


This year leading the marketing way is Paddy Power. Notorious for getting in trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency the brand have taken a different route this year.



Instead of focusing on solely TV and digital campaigns, Paddy Power have created their own version of the World Cup.


Partnering with the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA), the Paddy Power World Football Cup will be held in London, between 31 May and 9 June. Involving teams from around the globe; teams that didn’t quite make it to the World Cup that is, such as Tibet, Northern Cyprus, Armenia, the Isle of Man and glorious Yorkshire.


The Irish bookmakers made €48m profit from World Cup back in 2006 and have grown that figure substantially year on year, let’s hope this year’s idea generates some extra special ROI.


New Balance


New Balance have launched red hot new football boots just in time to align their brand with the World Cup hype. The Otruska Pack boots are inspired by Russian football and lifestyle.


The boots will be worn by New Balance sponsored players at the World Cup, including Jesús Navas and Vincent Kompany.


New Balance’s marketing strategy is aiming to cement the brand as a major force in the football stratosphere. Alongside the TV advert and sponsorships digital and social content will follow.



Famed for their creative campaigns, you may have noticed (or been influenced by) Domino’s ‘Food of Everything’ campaign. With typical Domino’s humour, the takeaway company have suggested that their pizza is perfect for all occasions, from wedding anniversaries and break ups to movie nights and squad chill nights. Piggybacking on the World Cup they have now suggested that their pizza is the ‘Official Food of your Sport Daily Dose’ in an advert that has been tied to their sponsorship of Sky Sports News. The channel that many sports fans will be watching the World Cup on.



With an ad budget of 20 million a year Domino’s have even partnered with Tinder to get this campaign advertised on the dating app, a clever move as they aim to target Tinder’s 16-34-year-old demographic.


Ultimately, these huge brands with extortionate budgets can afford to pay massive sponsorship and advertising fees but how can your company use the World Cup fever to your advantage?


  • Conduct World Cup themed giveaways and competitions on your social media channels
  • Host a Facebook live video game commentary
  • Post polls, videos, FIFA themed quizzes and product suggestions that are perfect for World Cup watching on social
  • Tweet along with World Cup hashtags and include World Cup hashtags in Instagram posts
  • Write World Cup themed blogs
  • Send out a World Cup themed email campaign linking to your products and services


Remember, be creative, try and utilise the football theme to your advantage, but avoid heavy use of the World Cup logo and fonts.


Try out a play on words… remember Pringooooals back in 2014?


Address trending news and stories with good humour!


Practice using memes but don’t overdo it!


Know your audience, if your target audience have no interest in the World Cup don’t waste money and effort.


If you’d like any help with social media marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) or marketing strategy get in touch today here.