Football fever

Andy Ball, managing director of Balls2 Marketing, talks about how leveraging big events like the World Cup can boost your marketing campaigns.

I write this the morning after England lost their semi-final game against Croatia. A real shame for the nation who have been singing, shouting and tattooing themselves with ‘It’s Coming Home’ over the past few weeks.

As well as installing some national pride in England, the leverage of the World Cup buzz has been used in some fantastic PR and marketing campaigns.

Ikea did a great job of piggy-backing on the World Cup mania, with a 2-4-1 offer on Swedish meatballs and fish and chips on the day of the quarter-final against Sweden. Their Instagram story that day finished with a nice ‘Hat’s off to you, England’ post, above a hat stand product advert.

Marks and Spencer led the waistcoat revolution, using Gareth Southgate’s polished image and coining July 11 as #WaistcoatWednesday. Its social media campaign showed staff, including the infamous Percy Pig, donning waistcoats, and some clever photoshopping put waistcoats on England’s most famous memorial statues including Nelson’s Column, Robin Hood and The Beatles.

It was topped off with a #WaistcoatWednesday photo filter available on Facebook for fans to put over their selfies. The result? Marks and Spencer sold out of waistcoats.

On a more serious note, the National Centre for Domestic Violence’s poster campaign used the World Cup by portraying a woman with a bloody nose and mouth forming the St George’s flag. This was to create awareness around the issue of increased incidents of domestic violence, citing that abuse increased by 26% when England played and 38% when they lost.

These are just a few of the campaigns that have caught my eye during the tournament. They prove that leveraging events and news stories can be a great way to boost your exposure and engagement with customers. Make the most of it by planning some social content for big awareness days, sports tournaments, and relevant news.