The sheer volume of World Cup tweets that flowed like tears on a Brazilian babe on Black Tuesday has given the good folks at Twitter and marketers who bet big on the first truly social World Cup, reason enough to celebrate, regardless of national allegiances.
The opening match between Brazil and Croatia was bombarded with 12 million tweets, that’s more than the entire tweet volume of the previous FIFA World Cup. So, for Pele’s sake, let’s be reasonable, and put things in perspective shall we? Yes, your team crashed out in a blaze of shame leaving in its wake psychologically scarred five-year-olds who can no longer bear to look at a football.
But what’s a little heartache, even if it’s splashed on the front pages of every major paper in the world, when you’ve got a couple hundred more followers in 90 minutes? No extra time required, Ref. (Hear that, #ARG?)
Before the 20th FIFA World Cup kicked off in early June, Twitter went all out to woo people to use the platform as an ideal companion that enhances your World Cup experience and not as just another megaphone for the newborn soccer pundit in you. Though a few didn’t get the memo. Twitter’s campaign included an all-you-can-tweet buffet of hashtags like #BRA #GER #NEDARG #WorldCup, et cetera.
They made sure every player on every team for every country is on the platform, knows how to tweet and is tweeting. All 32 countries were active on the platform and most players tweeted regularly be it from practice sessions or the stands. The company made certain the content flowed across media. There was even a video akin to the likes of World Cup favourites Nike (‘Write The Future’ – 2010, ‘Risk Everything’ – 2014), Adidas, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The site quickly turned in to a carnival of planned and reactionary content around the Cup.
In 32 days, 672 million tweets related to the World Cup were unleashed, that’s over 10 per cent of the planet’s population. Brands had conversations and engaged not only with fans but with each other also. Tweets went back and forth between McDonald’s and Visa who indulged in a round of Twitter joust in the group stage. Taking a hands-on approach, the social media platform sent in specialists to work closely with brands like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola to operate their social newsrooms from Rio to Tokyo, and drove conversation further and wider than in any previous marketing campaign to date.
Coca-Cola India garnered a social footprint of 6.2 billion impressions on Twitter. According to a Coca-Cola spokesperson, “This has by far been the brand’s largest ever social campaign in India which was a result of integrated marketing supported by a well knitted TV, radio, print and on-ground activity in its key geographies.” The social campaign was led by an editorial team at a specially created Live Wire room by Coca-Cola India. This team created and seeded real time content using meme images, Vine videos, leveraged multiple celebrities along with 250 advocates or influencers to cover everything from stats, WAGs and wacky hairdos to contests.
While Coke had the big global TV campaign, “in India the goal was to drive real-time conversations and content around the global asset, #WorldsCup. Twitter was at the heart of the social media strategy integrating multiple touch points from TV and radio to on-ground to leverage available content,” says Anamika Mehta, CEO, Initiative, who led the media team for Coke’s campaign.
“Compelling moments like the World Cup become the way to make Twitter more concrete,” says Shailesh Rao, VP – Asia Pacific, Latin America & Emerging Markets, Twitter Inc. “If you are following a match, well, participate in the conversation. If a goal excites you, tell the world. Not only was it hugely successfully in terms of engaging users but brands as well did some phenomenally creative things.”
Big ticket marketers pump in millions in the Cup, in the range of $25 – $50 million, to realise their marketing strategies, to be part of the conversation and to engage with fans, old and new across the world. For instance, markets like the US saw a surge in popularity of football and renewed interest in the game from marketers. The US goalkeeper, Tim Howard being its greatest beneficiary.