O Brasil é a casa da Copa – The digital World Cup Brazil 2014

It’s here, 4 years in the making (well 7 if you count from the decision to award the hosting), the 2014 FIFA World Cup has arrived, firmly landing in what some would argue to be its spiritual home, Brazil.

It’s arguably the spiritual home of the World Cup as Brazil remain the only side to win the World Cup on 5 separate occasions, with the vintage team of 1970 remaining, for many, the best side to ever play the game. Indeed they epitomised more than any other the phrase “the beautiful game” (O Jogo Bonito).

Yet as you’ll no doubt be aware it was Britain and particularly Scottish entrepreneurs we have to thank for introducing this beautiful, huge and diverse country to the game of football.

But it isn’t just in Brazil that the World Cup snatches attention. The tournament is considered by many to be the single greatest marketing event in the world, with over 3 billion people viewing the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, 715 million tuning into the final.

This year’s event will see a plethora of new digital and innovative marketing campaigns, more so than any other competition. The host of official FIFA Partners including Coca Cola, Adidas, Hyundai and Sony are all stepping up their digital campaigns. The difference in this year’s competition is that many of the more traditional “big” campaigns that traditionally dominated the TV airwaves (and still will) have moved further content and competitions into the online environment.

As always the advantages being that brands can instantly judge the results of campaigns, engage with wider audiences and gain instant feedback. The potential reach for these brands is stunning, for example Nike’s digital community numbers in the region of 200million users, almost the same as the population of Brazil.

FIFA have worked hard on enforcing marketing rules at competitions in recent years, some say more than the playing rules, mainly to protect the huge investments the official partners make to be part of the World Cup party. Yet, the rapid increase in digital media means that many of the biggest, best or just innovative brands can benefit from piggybacking on the back of the heightened marketing over the coming month. Individual

Player marketing agreements and National team marketing agreements give some big brands the means and the personnel to create World Cup marketing without needing to use any World Cup references, Nike’s “Winner Stays” ad for example already has 64 million views.

In a country like Brazil, which has an eclectic, innovative and entrepreneurial approach to business and marketing, and let’s say an in-built rebellious streak it will be interesting to see what methods the locals come up with to circumvent the FIFA marketing crackdown.
In addition to the commercial partners, the players themselves are now big business in the digital world.

For example, CR7 himself (World player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo) currently has over 24 million Twitter followers. Spanish playmaker, Andres Iniesta, not as much of a “courter” of publicity has over 16 million Facebook followers.

With such followings, and their own individual commercial agreements, the potential for high impact digital campaigns involving players directly is the kind of open goal that even Emile Heskey couldn’t miss (sorry Emile).

Whilst the national teams may have bans in place on player communication on social media platforms during the competition, it isn’t too much a stretch to imagine that this could be the first World Cup to contain a proper Twitter scandal of some kind…the combination of pressure, closer than normal working environment and days sat idle in hotel rooms means the ingredients are all there for a potential explosion.

Still we’ll be monitoring the digital airwaves over the coming month to see just how the Brazil World Cup 2014 is filling our bandwidth and clogging up millions of servers.

Simon Brooke is a Director and creative thinker at Happy Creative, a strategic marketing and creative branding agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk or @Happy_Creative

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