World Cup Marketing:

How to Piggyback on One of the World’s Most-Watched Sports Events

Piggybacking on trends is a time-honored marketing strategy. 

From Super Bowl commercials to Snapchat filters, brands have long sought to align themselves with cultural phenomenons. This year, that phenomenon is the World Cup.

As one of the world's most popular sporting events, the FIFA World Cup provides businesses with a unique opportunity to reach a global audience. 

Since 1930, the quadrennial tournament has captivated billions of fans worldwide, with the 2022 edition in Qatar expected to be the most-watched World Cup ever.

Traditionally, the World Cup has been a boon for the broadcast television industry. But in the age of digital media, the tournament presents an opportunity for brands to reach consumers on various platforms. Let's explore some of the most effective.

1. Tap Into International Markets

Although only 18% of U.S. adults intend to watch the World Cup in 2022, that number jumps much higher in other countries. Roughly 66% of the World Cup's market value comes from Europe, meaning that businesses need to think beyond American shores to reap the tournament's benefits.

The word “global” might be intimidating for some people, but it doesn't have to be. You can start by ensuring that your campaigns are accessible in multiple languages. You can also partner with local businesses or bloggers in other countries to help promote your brand.

For example, if you're a US-based company targeting the European market, you could partner with a popular soccer blog in the U.K. or Germany. This type of partnership can help you reach a whole new audience and tap into markets you might not otherwise have access.

In addition to promoting your brand to international audiences, you can also use the World Cup to learn about other cultures, helping you better understand your customers and what marketing messages resonate with them.

2. Schedule Your Marketing Calendar Around the World Cup

With the World Cup occurring every four years, it's easy to forget about the tournament until it's almost upon us. But if you want to take advantage of the event, you must start planning your marketing campaigns early.

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled from November 21 to December 18. But that doesn't mean you should wait until November to start your marketing efforts. 

Planning and executing a successful World Cup marketing campaign with anticipation will give you a leg up on the competition.

Develop a schedule for your marketing campaigns and include important dates like the start of the tournament, the semifinal matches, and the final—also, factor in time for pre-tournament hype and post-tournament analysis.

For example, you could launch a social media campaign in the weeks leading up to the World Cup and then follow up with a video campaign featuring user-generated content after the tournament ends. 

This type of content will be prevalent in the days and weeks after the World Cup, as people will look for ways to relive their favorite moments.

3. Create Collateral That Appeals to Soccer Fans

As the World Cup approaches, consider the content you will create to promote your brand. Will you produce video ads, launch a social media campaign, or make some other type of collateral?

You can even take a step further and build a World Cup-themed microsite or social media account. 

For example, Adidas created a Twitter account for the official game ball to promote its products during the 2014 World Cup. This account was hugely successful, garnering millions of followers in just a few months.


Companies like Peek & Poke help you build soccer-themed games and other digital experiences to reach soccer fans during the World Cup. These experiences can be a great way to engage potential customers and boost brand awareness.

Peek & Poke

Regardless of the type of collateral you create, ensure it’s something soccer fans will enjoy and promote your brand in a positive light. You want your content to stand out in the sea of World Cup marketing campaigns.

4. Ride the Wave of User-Generated Content

Even if you don't have the resources to produce your own World Cup-related content, you can still take advantage of the massive volume of user-generated content that customers will create around the event. 

85% of consumers believe that user-generated content is more trustworthy than traditional advertising, being more authentic and transparent.

User-generated content can take many forms, including photos, videos, blog posts, and social media posts. You can even repurpose existing content, like product reviews, to create World Cup-themed collateral.

For example, if you sell soccer jerseys, you could create a blog post featuring user-generated photos of people wearing your jerseys while watching World Cup games.

If you sell travel packages, you could create a social media campaign asking people to share photos and videos of their World Cup experiences.

You can find inspiration from other sports events like the Olympics or the Super Bowl, which have seen a surge in user-generated content in recent years.

Huggies' “Welcome to the World, Baby” campaign is an excellent example of how to repurpose user-generated content. The campaign, which ran during the 2021 Super Bowl, featured photos and videos of babies that parents submitted.


The campaign was a huge success, generating more than 1.5 million social media impressions and earning Huggies a ton of positive media coverage.

5. Livestream the Games

Traditionally, brands would spend up to $25 million for a World Cup sponsorship and over $400,000 for a 30-second T.V. spot during the championship game. Nowadays, you only need a smartphone and social media account to live stream the games.

While you may not be able to compete with the big brands in terms of budget, you can still use live streaming to reach a broad audience. 

Research suggests that live videos get 27% higher engagement than pre-recorded videos, and 68% of Millennials consume at least 4 hours of live video each week.

If you decide to live stream the World Cup, promote your broadcast in advance and use an attention-grabbing headline. You should also interact with viewers during the broadcast and encourage them to share your live video.

Your chosen platform will also affect your ability to interact with viewers. Platforms like Tiktok, for example, allow you to reply to comments in real time. Doing so is a great way to build rapport with your audience and create a more personal connection.

In the end, tapping into the World Cup mania doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. It is, however, essential to be strategic in your approach. 

By aligning your brand with the values of the World Cup and developing creative content, you can join in on the conversation and show your audience that you're a brand that knows how to have a good time.


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