BBDO and the World Cup: Companies – Don’t psych yourselves out!

So I’m a member of this LinkedIn group called “South Africa 2010 World Cup Soccer” and one of the members, Livinio Stuyck, posted the following message, by Lebo Biko of BBDO Consulting South Africa, to the group.  I’m not sure what Livinio’s source was but I thought it was pretty interesting and insightful.  Enjoy.

BBDO and the World Cup

BBDO Consulting Germany worked with sponsors and non-sponsors during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and has shared learnings and insights across its global networks, including South Africa. Using the lessons from the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Lebo Biko, managing director, BBDO Consulting South Africa, debunks the five major reasons why a company would not get involved in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

1. It’s a once-off event, and is overrated

Yes, it is a once-off event, but the economic and social growth that it spurs lasts long beyond the event. Consider that the 2006 World Cup grew the German GDP, as well as its tourism industry, and also allowed the country to re-brand itself. And it is expected that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will create around 415 000 new jobs for South Africa, and add R55.7 bn to our GDP. We can also expect around two million tourists to visit us between 2007 and 2015. ‘Ke Nako, which in Sotho means ‘it’s time’, is the campaign message behind the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” says Biko. “It is time for brands to create legacies that will outlive the event”.

2. There is no brand fit, so it’s a waste for me to get involved

Not true, says Biko, who has case studies (with measurable results) to prove that brands do not need to be traditionally linked to soccer to perform well. For example, Postbank (a postal services and financial services company), created a basic account offering, and linked it to soccer; they generated interest from German consumers, and at the same time, grew brand awareness to an all-time high. They garnered a million new customers, and also a more modern image for the brand. “Our research in Germany shows that first-time association with football and the World Cup generated bigger impact in terms of brand image, then did old timer sponsors, precisely because people don’t expect the brand association, and it surprises them,” says Biko. The potential of World Cup related communications and brand fit is grossly under-estimated by marketing managers.

3. I’m not a sponsor, so there’s no room for me

Biko says brands need to be very careful of their marketing, given that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is a protected event. And ambush marketing should be avoided at all costs. But alternative marketing is a viable way forward for brands.

4. I would like to, but I don’t know how, why or what to do

“People see soccer. They do not think in terms of a sponsor or a non-sponsor,” explains Biko. She encourages brands to build emotional connections to the game, but advises them to hang their hat on one idea.

5. I’ve still got plenty of time to get involved – I’ll worry about it later

“Today, there remain 365 days to kick-off,” says Biko, with the 2009 Confederations Cup underway. Brands can no longer drag their feet. Biko refers to a Worry Curve model, which shows that 36 months before a major event, there is uninformed excitement and optimism; with around 18 months to go, there is vague concern. And as the countdown continues from the 18 month mark, there is panic. Right now, says Biko, we’re in panic mode, and she expects that some brands/companies will resort to tactical campaigns (and not strategic campaigns), as a result.

—-Lebo Biko, Managing director, BBDO Consulting South Africa

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