World Cup Madness: Part 2

World Cup Banner #2

The FIFA World Cup comes around once every 4 years, and every 4 years the media and advertising world goes crazy. Conventional wisdom gets thrown out the window and advertisers latch on to the tournament no matter what product or service they’re trying to sell. I’ve burrowed through the archives to find the most strange and eye-catching campaigns of recent years. Here’s part 2 of World Cup Madness:

 Adidas Demolishes France’s 2010 Team Bus (2014)

Adidas World Cup

France’s 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa was disastrous. Key players fell out with coach Raymond Domenech stemming from his decision to not take star striker Theirry Henry to the finals, and players refused to train at the tournament with some being sent home.

France’s team bus from the 2010 tournament is destroyed by Adidas.

Now, the France national team is improved and has moved on from the calamity of 2010. To fully draw a line under the situation, Adidas staged an event in which the French team bus that was used during the 2010 World Cup was placed on a stage and demolished in front of the watching French squad. This was the very same bus that the team staged a protest in only 4 years ago. It’s a stunt that’s struck an emotional chord in France and is being marketed as a moment that can allow the French squad to rid itself of its World Cup demons and begin a new era – all thanks to Adidas and its giant demolition claw!

 Specsavers and Goal-Line Technology (2010)

Specsavers World Cup

When Frank Lampard’s shot against Germany flew past Manuel Neuer, the whole world knew it was a goal. Everybody apart from the officials on the day, that is. The following morning British opticians Specsavers ran a great reactive national press campaign that made no reference to the World Cup, but simply read ‘Goal-Line Technology from £25” and featured an image of some glasses.

Specsavers was able to distribute the ad so quickly because of its in-house creative team and the simplicity of the message that it was conveying. Everybody was talking about the goal that never was in the weeks after the tournament, so out of context the ad might lose its effect, but in the heat of the moment it was a brilliantly executed piece of advertising. Richard Holmes, Specsavers’ Marketing Director said, “We’ve been amazed by the volume of social media traffic suggesting that we give the World Cup the “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” treatment. We may have lost at football but British humour is always a match for anyone.”

Lampard’s disallowed goal against Germany in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

 Pepsi and “Tokyo 2002” (2002)

Pepsi World Cup

Coca Cola was an official sponsor of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. Not wanting to enter a bidding war resulting in a huge sponsorship bill, Pepsi decided that it would attempt to ambush the 2002 World Cup and make it seem as if it had paid to be associated with the tournament. It was all going to plan, until FIFA decided to step in and ban all of Pepsi’s advertising. FIFA claimed that Pepsi’s use of the term “Tokyo 2002” and using famous footballers in their adverts in the lead up to the tournament would “cause confusion amongst consumers” as it “presumed a sponsorship relationship” between Pepsi and the World Cup. FIFA was, of course, acting to ensure that exclusivity terms regarding Coca Cola’s £20m sponsorship deal were being honoured.

Pepsi’s “Tokyo 2002” TV advert.

In a statement, the CEO of FIFA Marketing, Patrick Magyar said, “FIFA regrets that corporations engage in ambush marketing activities, and is particularly disappointed to see a global company like Pepsico employing these below-the-belt techniques that harm the FIFA World Cup – they should know better”. However, the lead TV advert was nevertheless broadcast worldwide before the ban and became a talking point across the world over.

For the 2014 World Cup Pepsi have revealed a similarly questionable advert that Pepsi has said “toes the line” yet is within the rules of FIFA’s resumed sponsorship regulation – check out the advert and make a decision yourself.


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