World Cup Fever is certainly a pandemic with champions spreading enthusiasm and passion around the world. It’s not only circulating from country to country and person to person, World Cup Fever is also propagating through the social graphs of fans in social networks around the world.
On Twitter, for instance, it is because of the World Cup that a new Tweet record was established. On Thursday June 24th during the Japan vs. Denmark match, 3,282 Tweets flew across the stream every second, beating the previous record by almost 200.
The World Cup is now entering a phase where enthusiasm and passionate conversations will only amplify leading several companies to experiment with social media as a way of harnessing that excitement to earn support, traffic, and relevance through a fusion of creative and engagement.
As fans take to social networks, brands usually follow. During an earlier round of the World Cup, Coca Cola experimented with Twitter’s new Promoted Trends, a paid variant on “Trending Topics.” Coca Cola’s Global Interactive Marketing Vice President Carol Kruse shared the results with The Financial Times.
“The amount of impressions in such a short period of time around our whole World Cup campaign, to me it was a phenomenal time. It made this emotional connection at the time, it was great.”
In the first 24 hours, Coca-Cola’s Promoted Trend earned 86 million impressions and an engagement rate of 6% compared to approximately 0.02% of people who click on regular online advertisements.
As an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, Budweiser created an extravagant approach to new media, engaging fans across multiple platforms and across several programs. My good friend over at Anheuser-Busch InBev Michael Torres shared details of the program along with supporting data.
Budweiser created BudUnited.com, an original reality series hosted on a customized YouTube brand channel. 32 super fans were selected and flown to South Africa to live in one house and have their team loyalty and passion documented online through a programmed schedule. As each team is eliminated from the World Cup, the fans follow.
Budweiser is airing 4-6 webisodes daily at roughly 3-5 minutes each. The winner of the BudHouse show will attend the World Cup final and actually present the Man of the Match trophy live on the field on July 11th.
The channel already has already earned over 3.5 million views with an average engagement time of 11 minutes. And, it’s only going to continue to grow as the World Cup intensifies.
Budweiser tied YouTube and Facebook through a dedicated Brand Page for BudUnited. However, the appeal for uniting fans on the page was propelled not by liking or conversations, but instead by a introducing a creative face painting application. Indeed, fans can show their true colors through a clever custom Facebook app that adds their favorite colors to their avatar.
The Brand Page is doing extremely well, with over 2.6 million faces painted (1 every second around the world), each status update earning hundreds of comments and the page itself earning almost one million fans in a few short weeks (now known as “likes,” but I think fans is more appropriate here.)
Man of the Match
In a historical move, FIFA has democratized the selection process for the Man of the Match award, allowing consumers to vote online or via SMS.
Andrew Sneyd, Budweiser’s global advertising director commented to ClickZ, “It’s amazing that FIFA has allowed us to democratize the man of the match trophy, and to let the world decide who the best player of any given match is…”
Budweiser is indeed uniting the world around the World Cup with social media bringing everyone together. And it seems to be paying off. According to Hitwise Intelligence, Budweiser tops the Experian Hitwise World Cup Brands index.
The New York Times
The New York Times alerted me via Twitter to an interesting World Cup social media program they’re running. Using Facebook as the platform, the New York Times is tracking the Top World Cup Players using an innovative infographic or infoimagery that changes on a daily basis. As stated on the home page, “Millions of people around the world have been actively supporting – or complaining about – their favorite teams and players.”
Analyzing the volume and frequency of player mentions on Facebook each day, the images change to reflect activity. As such, players are sized according to the number of mentions on Facebook during each day of the World Cup.
Onwards to the Final
As the fervor and emotions run high towards the final match, what’s clear is that the World Cup is doing for social media creative and engagement what the Super Bowl has done for broadcast commercials. Expect to see brands investing in future social media programs that build upon what we see today to score the goals necessary to compete for attention now and in the future.
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