The 5 best marketing campaigns of World Cup 2018

Published on 13 July, 2018

With the eyes of the world fixed squarely on Russia this summer, businesses have been cashing in on the action in any way possible.

Here are our top five marketing campaigns from this year's tournament! 

1. Wish

Ever wondered what the players NOT going to the World Cup get up to over the summer? Well wonder no more! Wish pulled out all the stops and invested heavily in big name footballers to promote their ecommerce app in the run up to the World Cup with their ‘Time on Your Hands’ campaign. 

Thanks to a hefty push of paid social, a series of six 30-second videos feature the likes of Gareth Bale hairdressing, Robin Van Persie doing a spot of gardening and World Cup winner and part-time baker Gianluigi Buffon each competing in a battle of one-upmanship during a group chat.

This light hearted and indirect approach has covertly used the hype around the World Cup to dramatically boost brand awareness and drive traffic to its app, without the need to bang the World Cup drum. 

2. Umbro

“It’s coming home” became the national mantra throughout the World Cup, with the hashtag and accompanying memes dominating social media as England captured the nation’s hearts during their run to the semi-final. 

The phrase itself is taken from The Lightning Seeds 1996 football song “Three Lions”, so Umbro commissioned YouTube star Rob J Madin, a.k.a Brett Domino, to show the world exactly how a hit football anthem is made. The video racked up 80,000 views on Brett’s YouTube account and countless retweets and likes across Umbro’s own social media channels - turning this campaign into a hit of its own!

3. Paddy Power

Betting company Paddy Power have become synonymous in recent years for their bold, if a little controversial, marketing stunts. In fact, the person in charge of creating this rather irreverent public persona is aptly titled the ‘Head of Mischief’.

Fresh from “shaving” the rainforest at the 2014 World Cup, the betting giants are back with another viral video stunt, and again, there is more to the tale than meets the eye. 

A 13-second camera phone clip shows an England “fan” spraying the cross of St George and the letters PP on a helpless polar bear in the Russian arctic. A subsequent full-on newspaper wrap was taken out in The Metro that read “England ‘til I dye”.

The video was met with outrage from public and media who condemned Paddy Power for the stunt. It was soon revealed to be a fake, with the betting company running an accompanying social campaign shedding light on the plight of the dwindling polar bear population, and raising awareness and funds for wildlife conservation in the region.

4. Icelandair

The smallest nation at this year’s World Cup, also has the biggest heart! Icelandair is piggybacking on the national team’s surprise success by offering a free bespoke 90-minute holiday experience designed to give tourists a small taste of the ‘unique’ Icelandic spirit that has defined their impressive recent performances. 

The ‘Team Iceland Stopover’ was offered free to all fans who booked a stopover through the airline during the World Cup, and if you’re wondering - yes, Thunder Clap classes are compulsory! 

5. KFC South America

The last on our list is a smart, reactive TV commercial created by the famous fried chicken chain. In honour of Brazilian football superstar Neymar’s antics at this year's tournament, the South American arm of KFC devised a short 60-second ad that went viral across social media, racking up 167,000 views on Twitter alone. 

Brazil's talismanic forward unfortunately has a tendency to exaggerate injuries, often comically rolling around on the floor writhing in ‘agony’ from the slightest touch. KFC took it upon themselves to jump on the memes that were sweeping the internet by recreating one such iconic moment from the World Cup. Only this time the player continues rolling all the way from the ground and into a KFC restaurant.

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