Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
While there are only 32 nations that actually compete in the FIFA World Cup, billions of people from countries all around the world drop everything they’re doing to tune into the global event every four years, thus presenting one of the best opportunities for sportsbooks and iGaming companies to market their brand worldwide.
When it comes to FIFA 2022 World Cup promotion and marketing strategies for this year’s tournament, there’s no shortage of unique advertising campaigns.
Particularly since it’s being held in Qatar, marking the first time the competition taking place in the Arab world.
While this can certainly present its own set of challenges, it also opens the door to a whole new audience of potential consumers. In fact, this year’s competition has already set record-breaking numbers across multiple markets around the world.
In Japan, for example, the country’s Group Stage match against Costa Rica garnered an average audience of 36.37 million viewers, their highest audience of the year. While the United States’ battle with England on November 25 was the most-watched men’s football match in US television history.
Essentially, we’re over the halfway mark of the tournament, and it’s already become one of the most-viewed sporting events in television history. As such, it’s pivotal that a company exhaust all of its marketing efforts to promote its brand and tap into the international market.
To give you an idea of where to begin, below are some of the best World Cup marketing campaigns used for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
5 Best Marketing Campaigns from FIFA 2022 World Cup
1. Visa and Crypto.com – Masters of Movement
Anybody who has watched any one of the group stages or knockout round matches should be more than familiar with the two primary sponsors of the 2022 World Cup – Visa and Crypto.com.
After all, they’re both plastered around just about every stadium across Qatar at the moment.
As the official payment technology partner of FIFA, Visa opted to partner with Crypto.com to create a unique hybrid experience called Masters of Movement.
This pre-event auction on Crypto.com allows fans to bid on five NFT digital artworks inspired by legendary footballers Jared Borgetti, Tim Cahill, Carli Lloyd, Michael Owen, and Maxi Rodriguez, all of which were designed by award-winning XK Studios using AI algorithms.
Fans can even create their own unique NFT artwork by performing their very own signature skill moves on the virtual pitch featured at the FIFA Fan Festival in Doha, Qatar, allowing fans to take in all of the riveting action and surrounding pageantry, and also leave with a personalized souvenir to show off back home.
This presents one of the best World Cup marketing campaigns this year as it perfectly blends the use of interactive technology and NFTs with the love of football, enabling fans to fully immerse themselves in the action and experience the games both physically as well as digitally.
Not to mention walking away from the event with a truly one-of-a-kind NFT.
Plus, all of the auction proceeds will be donated to Street Child United, which is a charitable organization in the UK dedicated to protecting, supporting, and creating more opportunities for street-connected children around the world.
So, at the very least, there is reassurance knowing that fans will get to support a good cause.
2. Fox Soccer ft. Jon Hamm – The World Cup, Holiday Edition
One thing that separates this year’s tournament from years past is that it’s taking place in November and December as opposed to the usual timeframe of May, June, and July.
The reason is that temperatures in Qatar tend to climb up to around 40°C during this span, which is far too extreme for a near monthlong event.
While it might feel unnatural to watch the Three Lions duel it out against Les Bleus with the holidays just around the corner, Fox Soccer has taken advantage of the opportunity with a Christmas-themed campaign featuring none other than actor Jon Hamm as Santa Claus.
It also just so happens to have one of the best World Cup commercials ever.
In the commercial, Hamm makes light of the scheduling confusion as Santa now has to compete for the spotlight with mega superstars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the holiday season.
With Jolly Old St. Nick noting how this time of year is typically his time to shine and those guys “have like 300 million followers”, to which his head elf reluctantly points out is closer to 400 million.
World Cup marketing ideas like this are always incredibly entertaining, and this one, in particular, naturally elicits excitement for both the event itself and the upcoming holiday season.
If there are two things that just about everybody loves regardless of country, it’s Christmas and football (so, why not combine them!).
3. Kia – #KiaInspireTogether
We’ve previously mentioned the importance of social media sites like Twitter for sports betting marketing and reaching younger audiences. As such, Kia’s #KiaInspireTogether social media campaign presents one of the best FIFA 2022 World Cup promotion and marketing strategies this year.
As the official mobility partner of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Kia’s brand message promotes the idea of “Inspiration”.
Every four years, millions of people from all over the world come together to not just enjoy the game itself but also feel inspired to achieve greater things, with the brand highlighting that football and inspiration are “in all of us”.
This is easily one of the best World Cup marketing campaigns as it not only spreads positivity and encouragement but also utilizes social media to allow fans to share their passion for football.
Using #KiaInspireTogether, fans can create their own UGC (User Generated Content) to show their passion for their respective teams. Kia will then choose the best videos and showcase them through electronic boards at the stadiums in Qatar.
But that’s not all!
Kia is also promoting the personal stories and inspiring hopes of 64 children from 20 different nations globally as part of their OMBC (Official Match Ball Carrier) campaign, providing these children with the once-in-a-lifetime experience of carrying the official game ball to the pitch alongside the players and match officials.
Kia also chose to document the children and promote their stories through social media to demonstrate how achievable dreams can be.
In addition, Kia also provided a fleet of nearly 500 passenger vehicles to use during the FIFA World Cup to facilitate safe travel for players, referees, staff, and management, including 80 of Kia’s most eco-friendly models like the EV6 GT-line, Sorento PHEV, and Niro PHEV, marking the first time for Kia to operate eco-friendly vehicles in a FIFA event.
The primary notion of this marketing campaign is to inspire people to achieve their dreams and show them that football is much more than just a sport; it’s a movement.
4. Frito-Lay – Football Inspired Flavors
Nothing goes more hand in hand than sports and snacks.
Throw in some friends and a few alcoholic beverages, and you’ve got yourself a party. Thankfully, this is something that Frito-Lay’s has capitalized on as part of their Frito-Lay World Cup campaign, begging the question – Is it called soccer or football?
The long-debated question resurfaces as American football legend Peyton Manning and soccer superstar David Beckham provide some witty banter as they debate the true name of the game.
Regardless of which stance you align with, this is one of the best World Cup commercials because it highlights the one thing that brings everyone together – food.
They say the way to a country’s heart is through its stomach; clearly, Frito-Lay feels the same way.
The iconic chip brand is offering three limited edition flavors to the North American market to celebrate the games as well as a unique interactive campaign to further engagement with fans. The flavors are Lay’s Adobadas, Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper, and Lay’s Wavy Carnitas Street Tacos.
With any of these Lay’s World Cup-inspired products, fans/customers can simply scan the special QR code on the back and register on the platform for a chance to win loads of soccer-inspired merchandise and prizes, including a trip to the FIFA World Cup 2022 final.
Plus, the first 350,000 people to register will also receive a unique NFT artwork of the photo they choose when they first sign up.
Fans can also click on any photo to discover which team that individual is rooting for in the tournament, illustrating one of the best FIFA 2022 World Cup promotion and marketing strategies geared towards community engagement, NFTs, and of course, some savory snacks!
5. The FIFA World on Roblox
With EA Sports officially ending its partnership with FIFA, making FIFA 22 the final installment in the iconic video game series, it’s left the door wide open for other gaming networks to step in and take over the footballing world.
And one shouldn’t be too surprised to see Roblox rise up to the challenge.
As one of the biggest gaming networks on the planet, Roblox has partnered with FIFA for the 2022 World Cup to offer free-to-play access to the FIFA World, a virtual environment celebrating the sport and its rich history.
This vibrant virtual world features fun and social football-themed mini-games such as Adventure Football, Adidas Footbowling, obstacle courses, treasure hunts, and a Visa Sticker Shop in which fans work towards filling out their sticker book for special rewards.
Fans can also virtually meet with football stars like Lena Oberdorf and Pedri, earn official national team jerseys and even personally interact with official FIFA World Cup mascots.
Additionally, Roblox allows users to watch exciting original FIFA+ content with friends and receive live updates about the real-world FIFA World Cup.
Oh, and the best part is that all of this exciting entertainment is entirely free to use regardless of location.
As previously noted, this was a genius move on the part of Roblox since EA Sports has left the building and there’s no official gaming partner with FIFA at the moment. This allows Roblox to tap into the massive following that the World Cup garners and benefit from expanding its platform while also connecting with football fans from around the world.
The FIFA World Cup is a truly global competition and offering virtual experiences such as this help to keep audiences engaged without being limited by geographical barriers.
Iconic FIFA World Cup Marketing Campaigns from Years Past
While some of the previously mentioned brands have gone above and beyond with their marketing efforts in this year’s tournament, there have been some fantastic promotions in years past as well.
Here are a few of the best World Cup marketing campaigns over the last decade.
Beats by Dre – The Game Before the Game (2014)
Beats by Dr. Dre beautifully exemplified the culture and impact of football on a global scale without ever even having to utter the words “world” or “cup”.
Leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Beats spotlighted pregame rituals from fans and players alike around the globe. Their objective was to point out that regardless of where you’re from or how you prepare for a football match, everybody finds strength and inspiration from music.
In this commercial, Brazilian football star Neymar Jr. was shown receiving a pep talk from his father while donning a pair of Dre Beats headphones before his tournament.
It also shows other football players gearing up for the global event, such as Germany’s Mario Gotze nervously warming up before a match (while listening to music), Luis Suarez equipping his signature bandage on his right hand, and even an appearance from Thierry Henry as well.
Beats also rewarded every member of the winning German team with a pair of 24-carat gold headphones at the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Unibet – #LuckIsNoCoincidence (2016 Euro Cup)
While not technically World Cup advertising, Unibet’s #LuckIsNoCoincidence campaign for the 2016 European Cup illustrates a genius football marketing strategy for sportsbooks.
As opposed to allocating all of its ad revenue to TV deals and promotions geared toward younger male audiences, Unibet opted to go the educational route instead by providing crucial betting tips to help its customers make more educated bets.
To form a deeper connection with true football fans and separate itself from the competition, Unibet released a nearly 17-minute long YouTube video with former professional footballers breaking down how to make a winning bet accurately and sharing industry insights on factors that can influence a player or team’s performance on the pitch.
Instead of charming customers with fancy ads and traditional sports betting marketing campaigns, Unibet chose to help customers beat the sportsbook. While this may seem counterintuitive for a sportsbook to just hand out this sort of information, the results speak for themself.
Compared to the World Cup in 2014, Unibet opened 115% more new betting accounts, and the deposit amount during the campaign was 70% more than in 2014 and a whopping 265% more than Euro 2012.
Turns out, it pays to be transparent with your customers even if you’re a sportsbook trying to profit off them.
Coca-Cola – Russian Interactive Football Cup (2018)
Another incredibly innovative idea came from Coca-Cola for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia when the renowned soft drink manufacturer partnered with Electronic Arts and BY Esports to launch the Russian Interactive Football Cup as an official qualifying competition of the EA SPORTS FIFA 18 Global Series.
During the tournament, players, fans, and celebrities were invited to participate in a variety of online and live eSports events leading up to the FIFA World Cup.
The Russian Interactive Football Cup even created branded content around the competition that included player stories, game highlights, show recaps, and more, allowing gamers to play alongside football superstars virtually before watching them dominate on the real-life football pitch.
To say that eSports is a booming business would be a vast understatement. In fact, Newzoo reported that the actual eSports revenue worldwide was close to $947.1 million in 2020, and in 2024, they expect this number to reach $1,617.7 million, displaying a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11.1% from 2019 to 2024.
So, long story short, be like Coca-Cola and find ways to incorporate eSports content whenever possible.
Christmas is one of the best times of the year for companies to ramp up their marketing efforts as everybody begins to tap into the festive spirit and community engagement is at an all-time high.
And with this year’s FIFA World Cup taking place during the holiday season, there’s arguably no better time to engage with sports fans and create those critical brand connections for an event that only takes place once every four years.
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar winds to a close, some of the marketing campaigns will fade away while others will live on as examples of how to properly promote a product during such a global event.
Learn what you can from these companies, as strategies such as these will only be more successful and impactful in the future.
Header Image Source: Photo by Jannes Glas on Unsplash
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “The Best Way to Market the FIFA World Cup”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂