World Cup Brand Watch: Inside the Adidas Massive Marketing Effort, How a Betting Company Won Big and Kraft Gets a Piece of the Action Live

The Adidas war room in Rio includes a "screen [that] tracks the most-searched players among the 100 or so World Cup athletes Adidas sponsors." (Credit: Julie Ruvolo, Ad Age)
By Stephen M Zorio

The fact that Adidas is one of the major players at the World Cup (including its role as an official sponsor) is a well established fact. But there hasn't been much in the way of a peek inside their massive marketing operation ... until now. 

Ad Age recently got to take a look inside the apparel giant's World Cup efforts -- and what they found was impressive.

"We want to be the most talked-about brand at World Cup," says Tom Ramsden, brand marketing director for Adidas Football, who oversees communications across advertising, PR, social and retail told Ad Age. "We knew we were going to do something real-time, that isn't completely brand new to us, but it is at this scale."


And just how did they go about achieving that aim? For starters, preparation.

London-based social media firm We Are Social spent the past year traveling the globe " to gather content on over 100 Adidas players that can be assembled on the fly regardless of who wins."

The emphasis on planning is in keeping with what John Crozier, an account manager with We Are Social, told us in a chat we held last month on real-time marketing efforts at the Word Cup.

"While real time is often a reactionary measure when it is most successful is when it is centered in a planned strategic and creative direction," Crozier told us. "When this does happen the content that is posted flies and the reason it does that is often because ... it's timely, it looks great and delivers against your objectives."

And thus far that approach is paying dividends. Rob Hughes, Adidas' senior global football PR manager told Ad Age that Adidas "is the most talked-about brand on Twitter during the World Cup, with over 1.6 million tweets, retweets and replies mentioning the brand."

Place Your Bets

Australian betting company Sportsbet decided to double down on the power of social for the World Cup.

Sportsbet launched "its #keepthefaith social media program in June to take advantage of digital momentum building around the tournament and drive brand awareness," according to an article on CMO.com. 

The 24/7 effort consists of an "engagement team" that monitors World Cup games and reacts to pivotal moments with text, images and animated content via Twitter.

That effort has netted the firm a 400% increase in engagement in the past month, including a Luis Suarez tweet that resulted in more than 4,000 re-tweets and over 2,000 likes. Sportsbet was not alone in newsjacking that particular moment, but the consistent effort, the mix of mediums and the frequency with which they post can be directly attributed to the success they've seen.

A Slice of the Pie

Kraft Comida is the food giant's Hispanic market-aimed group and, given the popularity of the World Cup with Hispanic women, the group saw a real opportunity.

The group used a combination of social media monitoring and available content (i.e. recipes) to serve up the most relevant pieces for its email subscribers, according to Ad Age. By utilizing data, the company was able to provide the sorts of recipes its fan base was most interested in and saw a lift in click-through on those recipes as well. Brands that understand not only the value of social, but how to measure those trends can realize real world gains in customer engagement.

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