Social Video Lessons Every Marketer Should Learn from the World Cup

Social Video Lessons Every Marketer Should Learn from the World Cup

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According to Unruly, “The World Cup was not only the prime marketing event of the year, it was arguably the biggest marketing event of all time”. The tournament attracted million of dollars worth of sponsorship, including rights to merchandising, and offered a huge host of brands the chance to engage with their target audience via football-focused content.

But which brands triumphed? What kind of content attracted the most shares? Were there any themes? And what were the sharing patterns? Well, here are just some of the social video lessons that Unruly thinks every marketer should learn.

7 Out of 10 Shares Were for Ads Not Affiliated With World Cup

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If you look through Unruly’s list of the most shared ads of the 2014 World Cup, 69.6% of the shares came from brands not affiliated with the tournament. Despite creating almost twice as many videos (143 v 267), none of the top three most shared brands (Danone, Nike and Samsung) are FIFA partners. But why did non-sponsors do so well? Unruly has a couple of theories:

  • Non-sponsors have creative freedom, unconstrained by endless regulations and laborious approval processes that often result in creative being reduced to a shadow of its former self.
  • With allegations of corruption and match-fixing, FIFA is also not exactly a brand you would like to be associated with right now.
  • The internet has changed the rules, giving non-sponsors a bigger platform to generate mass awareness around the World Cup.

So, which brands top Unruly’s chart? Well, Activia took the number one spot thanks solely to its musical collaboration with Colombian pop star Shakira, “La La La”. The Danone yoghurt brand held the top spot since the start of the tournament and with 4.7 million shares since its launch, it is well ahead of the pack (Nike, another non-sponsor, was second with 2.6 million).

Another non-sponsor, Samsung, took third spot after the tech giant’s ads attracted 1.28 million shares, while Beats By Dre, which was recently purchased by Apple, and Japanese noodle company, The Nissin Group, also made it onto the top 10.

To see the full rankings click on Unruly’s Braziliant Brands Tracker. It’s something that marketers who can’t afford to fork out $4 million on 30 seconds of Super Bowl airtime should examine closely.

Almost 50% of Most Shared Ads of 2014 are World Cup-related

Four of the top 10 most shared ads of 2014 so far are World Cup-related. Although we’re just halfway through 2014, it’s already looking like a World Cup year for social video marketing. Dubbed by many as the unofficial World Cup theme song, Activa’s “La La La (Brazil 2014)” is so far leading the battle for this year’s social video crown. It’s also the fourth most shared ad of all time. Two Nike ads, “Winner Stays” and “The Last Game”, also made it on to the top 10, while official sponsor Castrol was eighth.

Trackvertising: The Sweet Spot Between Ads and Music Videos

Why was “La La La” so successful? Unruly says, “Because it’s a good example of a trackvert – a video that blurs the lines between traditional advertising and music videos.” Why is this important? “Because music videos are by far the most shared videos online. In fact, 99% of the top 100 are music videos.”

The sharing patterns of trackverts are also different from normal ads, which generate around 65% of their shares in the first week and then suffer significant viral decay. However, music videos have more longevity. It means that Activia is probably on course to have the most shared ad of the year.

I plan to include this as one of the case studies in my pre-Summit workshop on YouTube TrueView Advertising, which is coming up on Thursday morning. Devra Prywes, Unruly’s VP Marketing and Insight, US, has also provided me with the latest version of Unruly’s “Will It Share?” scorecard to use in the workshop. So, yes, this lesson will be on the exam.

Meanwhile, only one ad from this year’s Super Bowl made it on to the list – Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” ad. It’s further evidence that Super Bowl sponsors need to raise their game to another level next year.

Nike Beat Adidas (Again)

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One of the key brand battles everyone was talking about, of course, was Nike v adidas. It was a fight where adidas usually comes out second best, despite being a sponsor since 1970. This year’s World Cup was no different, with Nike claiming almost three-quarters of the total number of ad shares between the two and more than twice as many views – despite creating fewer videos. That’s not to say that Nike had it all its own way. Both teams in the final were adidas teams, adidas players had better tournaments, while the German company’s focus on real-time marketing paid off, as it generated more mentions on Twitter throughout the tournament. But when it comes to creating ads that people share and like, Nike is still the champ.

Sponsor Coca-Cola Generated More Fizz Than Pepsi

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However, not every sponsor went home from Brazil with their tails between their legs. FIFA partner Coca-Cola’s ads attracted a lot more attention than rival Pepsi, generating a staggering 86.1% of the total number of shares between the two. Coke also ran the most successful social media campaign, according to Social Bakers.


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