Marketing Briefing: With the World Cup nearing in fourth quarter, marketers are weighing the complications and opportunities

play soccer

Marketers are beginning to unveil their marketing strategies for the World Cup, which will take place from late November to mid-December in Qatar this year. 

The location and timing of the tournament, which happens every four years and serves as a rare opportunity for marketers to reach global live sports audiences, may change how some marketers approach it this year, according to marketers and agency execs.  

Some say the timing, which was shifted due to Qatar’s climate, will bolster advertisers’ interest in the games as there are typically more ad dollars spent in the fourth quarter than the summer when the World Cup is normally played.

Others say that shift complicates things as marketers may be more focused on performance marketing efforts as the need to hit sales goals during the fourth quarter, especially this year with an uncertain economic environment, is much higher than during the summer. At the same time, they also have holiday marketing efforts to focus on.

At that time of year, many brands are “not trying to drive global awareness but be further down the [purchase] funnel,” said Nick Meyer, director of social media strategy at Campbell Ewald, when asked about the timing shift. Meyer added that despite difficulties with timing or the on-going economic uncertainty for many brands the “World Cup is not something you pass over. There’s no other time, no other media moment that lasts a month and gets a billion views worldwide.”  

When it comes to the current economic climate, marketers and agency execs say that it’s unlikely for brands to pull back on spending for the event now to manage those issues. That’s because many of the marquee marketers and long-time partners for FIFA who are planning big World Cup campaigns likely budgeted for them long before the current economic environment. 

“Specialty items like the World Cup that happen every four years, don’t just start selling a month or two ahead of time,” said Jon Lefferts EVP of integrated investment at UM, adding that Fox and Telemundo, the networks airing the World Cup, “have been selling this for well over a year now. They’re well ahead of where they’ve been in the past.” 

And the global audience tied with live sports has likely become more attractive for some marketers, especially when the last few years global sporting events haven’t had the same normalcy or pull. 

“The World Cup is the ultimate global moment, and it already brings people together in a way that most sporting events can only dream about,” said Brendan Shaughnessy, cultural strategy director at sparks & honey. “While the last two Olympics couldn’t bring any sense of a needed normalcy, I anticipate brands and marketers will try to maximize football’s presence as a moment that brings collective calmness and certainty through its diverse fanbases and seek to inspire and elevate a new wave of fandom rituals and traditions on the biggest stage.” 

Even so, some marketers and agency execs say the labor and human rights issues reported with many calling the reportedly harsh environment for the construction of the stadium exploitative may have some brands think twice about being associated with this year’s event.

3 Questions with Nikhil Shah, director of Diageo Spirits’ Ready To Drink Portfolio

Loyal 9 Cocktails first national campaign banks on comedy. Why?

Underpinning all of it is this strategy of comedy which is very much infused into the DNA of the brand. That is a bit reflective of this RTD [ready to drink] category, which is very much a new space, but it has a lot of lightness infused to it. We see comedy as that perfect space that helps us keep things consistent with the category, but also showcase the realness of the brand.

Loyal 9 Cocktails just launched last spring, making it a new brand. What’s next for marketing strategy?

One of the things about this category is it’s very seasonal. Particularly as a brand like Loyal Being Lemonade. We want to be synergistic. We want to be synonymous as the drink of the summer. Outside of this work, which we’re going to continue into the fall, we’re now having conversations of how we extend this work into next summer. As a new brand, it’s all about learning along the way, learning fast, failing faster and optimizing. 

Are there any media channels that Loyal 9 is planning to double down on next year?

We don’t have traditional TV in the mix. We’ll certainly double down on digital. This is where the learning needs to come into play in our current media mix. Historically we’ve had tremendous success on social. I would be hard pressed to imagine that we don’t go even bigger in the digital world. What it comes down to is do we make even bigger bets potentially in the future. — Kimeko McCoy

By the numbers

Increasingly, influencers and content creators are becoming a line item in marketing budgets as the creator economy continues to grow exponentially. For example, Aerie clothing brand is spending most of its marketing dollars on paid social and influencers. More than half of marketers who leverage content creators and influencers in their marketing strategy do so in hopes to boost engagement and reach new audiences, according to Sprout Social’s new creator economy report. More findings from the report below:

  • 45% of brands have the creator post on their own account, compared with 27% that only post it on their pages. 
  • Educational content takes top spot for marketers with 50% of marketers hiring creators to produce it.
  • 58% of marketers who responded to the survey plan to use Instagram for creator collaborations, followed by Facebook (51%), TikTok (50%), Twitter (36%) and YouTube (27%). — Kimeko McCoy

Quote of the week

“You can’t be a Black business person without embracing the responsibility of being a change agent in your respective industry. The more you build your brand as a leader, the more your community will support you when you need them most.”

— said Joe Anthony, founder of Hero Collective, a 100% Black-owned advertising agency, when asked about the push for more ad dollars to go to Black-owned businesses.

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