Brazil 2014 – The Most Digital, Social and Ambushed World Cup Ever

You saw it, I saw it and based upon the statistics coming out of the social stratosphere, almost everyone on the planet saw it. Staff at the FIFA HQ are no doubt patting themselves on the back for having a digital World Cup like no other. The now famous #BRA vs #GER semi-final which resulted in a 7-1 loss for the host nation, received 35.6 million tweets in the duration of the match. This set a new Twitter record, easily surpassing the 30 million tweets recorded during January’s Super Bowl. According to Twitter Data the final itself received 32.1 million tweets, peaking at nearly 619,000 tweets per minute.

Facebook reports that 88 million global users made a record 280 million interactions, including posts, likes, and comments, during the World Cup final. This easily broke the previous record held of 245 million interactions, set by the Super Bowl in 2013. Facebook also said that the top five countries participating in the global buzz were, in order, US, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Indonesia. When you have more tweets than any other sporting event ever, more digital activation than any other sporting event ever and one official media outlet creating ways to stream games faster than any other, you can’t consider this anything but a success for FIFA.

Or can you?

What about all the ambush marketing? From KFC’s TV campaign featuring a football inspired Brazilian family to every local pub having some sort of Brazil World Cup artwork on its premises. It was everywhere and from travelling throughout Asia, Europe and N. America over the last month, I mean everywhere. That’s great for sport but what about protecting the sponsors that paid dearly to be officially involved with the competition? I think the advent of Twitter, Pinterest, Vine and Instagram has cut loose a new form of ambush marketing – #DigitalAmbush. It’s easy, it’s fast, it’s engaging and you don’t need to be an official partner to get involved.

Look at the battle between Nike and Adidas at the World Cup. While Adidas was rightfully proud to have both teams in the final (and the Brazuca ball, I might add), Nike didn’t sit still. They had ambassador LeBron James in attendance and, of course, very socially active from his seat in the stadium. Maybe not the same exposure as being on the pitch with Messi and company but nowhere near the cost either. Despite Nike having a strong presence,even in a non-official capacity, Adobe analysts state that Adidas overall achieved 71% more tournament-related social media buzz.

As leaders in the digital sports revolution, all of us at PRISM are continually educating our clients on what they can and cannot do in the sports social/digital sphere. All the rules are yet to be defined and as this social playground remains distinctly open, the question is who will break the next boundaries in this revolution?


Steve Madincea
Founder & Group Managing Director at PRISM

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