Firm News

For Brands, the World Cup Runneth Over

June 21, 2018

A look at the wins and losses to date in Russia

I like watching the Super Bowl, even when my team is not participating, for the commercials. I love watching the World Cup and its global coverage for what brands are doing to stick out – for better or worse - amongst an endless amount of action in a multilingual, international crowd.

We are one week into the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia and marks are already being made. Let’s take a look at some of the early brand moves grabbing attention for innovation, as well as those that received red cards from the public:

  • GOAL! - Budweiser’s LIGHT UP THE FIFA WORLD CUP™ CampaignBudweiser is lighting up the World Cup with its Red Light Cups, which Budweiser says are the “first-ever noise-activated cups” in which the bottom will light up Bud Heavy Red as fans cheer, chant, clap and raise the volume during World Cup matches. This global campaign comprises 8 million light-up cups in over 50 countries. In the host country’s official stadiums, each beer will be served in a Red Light Cup, as well as at sponsored viewing parties across the world and available at some retail locations.
  • Additionally, one of the greatest packaging innovations to date is associated with this campaign – these 4-beer holders that certainly every stadium in the world will want in order to increase profits through year-round events. Hello, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, please get these in stock ASAP.

Of course, there are bound to be missteps. Mastercard and Burger King have taken the early leads here:

  • Out of Bounds - Burger King Pregnant Tweet and Posts – The King’s Russian version flame-broiled himself when his social media team tweeted out an offer of 3 million roubles and free Whoppers for life to female fans impregnated by players competing in the World Cup…wait…what? Why? Who approved this? BK’s Russian team apologized for the tweet and then pulled it down, but the internet is undefeated, so the screenshot is still out there.
  • Out of Bounds - Mastercard Hunger Goal – Mastercard decided to get in the game by launching a campaign to feed starving children in soccer-loving Latin America and the Caribbean, which is great news. However, they would execute the meal donations by giving the equivalent value of 10,000 meals to the World Food Programme (WFP) each time Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi and Brazilian icon Neymar Jr. score, leaving many followers and blue check marks wondering why they wouldn’t be helping the WFP in the first place and trying to gain from a serious situation.

I’m glad the Cup has kicked off and am looking forward to three more weeks of brands looking to capture the consumer trophy…and let’s be honest, see which company gets the next red card.

Ryan Evans is a Managing Supervisor at Bond Moroch.