Millennials, tech will influence World Cup 2014 marketing

By Cody Hammack

Growing up I played American football and baseball and was never much of a soccer fan. However, as grew into my late teens and early twenties I began to appreciate the game more and more. My interest in the sport began with the video game FIFA. Through this game I learned who the best players were, the basic rules and verbiage of soccer.  My newfound knowledge of the game sparked my interest in watching live games and tournaments like the World Cup.

As the 2014 Brazil World Cup quickly approaches, brands are looking for a unique way to integrate their message into the lives of millennials. Nike has done a great job so far in preparation for the games by recently releasing this commercial.

Being a millennial myself, this commercial gets me hyped up for the tournament, even though the ad does not mention the tournament once. Other brands, like Coca-Cola and Addias, are focusing on the importance of real-time marketing. Paul Dwan, Coke’s Head of Assets and Experiential says that technology is the difference between this years tournament and the previous one in 2010.

The influence of technology is why there will be more of a need for real-time, rather than pre-planned marketing tactics. Aisling McCarthy handles the Addias account at the social media agency We Are Social. When addressing millennials watching the World Cup, McCarthy says, “They watch the game, they update on Twitter, they second-screen. If you understand the behavior then you can work out how to engage with that.”

At least for me this is completely true. I tend to be on social media outlets like Facebook during live sporting events just to see what my friends have to say about the game.

Specifically, Hispanic millennials are a target for numerous brands heading into the tournament. The World Cup is a great “opportunity to connect with this audience in an authentic manner. It is a sport that Hispanic millennials embrace as a part of their DNA.”

A recent report by Octagon notes that it is important to have different brand messaging for Hispanic millennials compared to their older family members, because this segment is not only taking pride in their familes’ home team — but in American teams as well. The Octagon report challenges brands to find the right balance between communicating a tip of the cap to their heritage while pushing a fresh perspective that relates to them. Brands should also note that 75% of Hispanic millennials are actively using social media; it would be ideal for marketers to promote their brand through the 2014 World Cup while giving Hispanic millennials a platform to share their voice.

I, for one, am excited for the games to begin and also to see how different marketers take different approaches to targeting millennials. Nike has grabbed my attention so far, but I am curious to see what other brands do — especially when the games begin and some real-time social media tactics are thrown into the mix.