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Creating cut-through at major events

Sarah Gavin shares five key points brands should consider when marketing around big events such as the World Cup 

Creating cut-through at major events
Sarah Gavin shares five key points brands should consider when marketing around big events such as the World Cup

The World Cup in Brazil is a marketing opportunity that brands cannot ignore, argues Sarah Gavin.

The World Cup which begins on 12th June is the single biggest marketing opportunity that exists. While the SuperBowl attracts an impressive 108 million people, a staggering 3.2 billion people tuned in for the 2010 World Cup, 715 million for the final alone. It is not a mere matter of numbers: the event stirs passions and so creates an opportunity for engagement that no brand can afford to ignore.

The football World Cup may be the stand-out event, and the one on everyone's minds right now, but it is by no means the only one. Wimbledon fortnight attracts a cumulative audience of 378.8m people in 198 territories with a peak audience of 17.3m tuning in to see Andy Murray triumph over Novak Djokovic.

Far away from the world of sport, London Fashion Week saw @burberry rack up more than 35k mentions after One Direction's Harry Styles gave it a boost, and on the day that L'Occitane launched its Fashion Week Survival Kit its Twitter account hit the stratosphere.

Then there are the major seasonal events such as Valentine's Day, Easter, and of course Christmas. All of these events provide significant opportunities for marketers to develop content that will attract eyeballs and engage potential customers, but it is essential they do it successfully. After all, they are competing in a crowded market.

Here are five ways you can achieve cut-through for your brand around major events.

  1. Show passion
    Whether it is Coca-Cola's attempts to become synonymous with the spirit of Christmas, or Robinsons tapping into the Englishness of Wimbledon, brands need to convey an authentic passion for the event. This is a pre-condition of success in this field.

    It is a lesson that adidas clearly understands. It recently launched its World Cup ad, which features the traditional deluge of football stars such as Lionel Messi and a soundtrack from Kanye West, but which ends on a more unusual note. It encourages its social media followers to opt out of CRM initiatives and Twitter updates if they can't demonstrate they "understand Adidas's philosophy and approach to football".

  2. Look beyond the television
    During the final game of the 2010 World Cup people from 172 countries tweeted in 27 different languages. Tweets per second went to more than 2,000 peaking at 3,200 when Spain scored the winning goal.

    In the four years since then smartphones and tablets can become even more prevalent, and our television-watching habits have evolved from a single screen experience to a multiscreen one. Marketers are fast adapting to engage consumers on these second screens, and this opportunity is heightened during major events.

  3. Think real-time
    The days when marketers could develop an ad campaign around an event and then sit back and wait for it to land are long gone. Now the buzz is around real time marketing opportunities, and nowhere was the potential of this tactic better demonstrated than in Oreo's tweet during the 2013 Superbowl.

  4. Consider emerging markets
    Sponsorship of a major event is expensive and fraught with legal pitfalls. The enthusiasm among many brands for ambush marketing may have been dimmed considerably by the arrest of two women in Johannesburg following their ambush marketing coup for Bavaria Beer.

    With association with the event itself so hotly contested, brands could consider focusing instead on its location. Is there content that you can generate around Brazil and the rest of the fast emerging South American continent?

  5. Maintain momentum after the event
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    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, marketing around an event needs to be sustained. Far too many brands see it as a one-off hit. They are there for Fashion Week, the Rugby World Cup, or the Glastonbury Festival and a month after it has finished they have forgotten all about their professed passion for fashion, rugby or music.

    There is little marketers can do now to tap into the 2014 World Cup, but they can think now about how to maintain the engagement they will generate to ensure they maximise the return from the investment they have made in content around the event.

    They can do this with every event. This month's Content Conversation by Outbrain will not only provide ideas, strategies, and inspiration for how to do so, it will also show how leading brands are doing this to good effect. For any marketers who want to tap into the potential of events it is one event not to miss.

"Major events – maintaining momentum post-event?" will take place 8.30-10.30am on Thursday 12th June at 6 Ramillies Steet London W1F 7TY. To request an invitation please e-mail Antonia Faulkner-Dybvig: adybvig@outbrain.com

Sarah Gavin is Marketing Director for Outbrain Europe

Posted in CMA blog
13thJun 2014


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