Top of the World – Who will be Brand Champions of FIFA 2014?


As June leaps off the bench this year, it brings with it not just the promise of the Great British Summer but also the excitement of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

It is almost impossible to escape the surrounding furore, as everyone tries to get a piece of the brand value silverware on offer, through association (officially or otherwise) with the tournament.

Nike were one of the first off the mark, with an ad that at once plays up to their other cinematic spectacles of recent years (complete with a brilliant Hollywood cameo), while also tapping into a grassroots appeal that keeps their campaign grounded. The insight that kids play as their favourite stars while using jumpers for goalposts is an obvious one, and boys playing alongside their heroes is a classic fall-back for sports equipment, but there is a wit and style that gives Nike’s guerrilla offering an edge here.

Certainly over Adidas, whose dark dreams from Lionel Messi may appeal to an older crowd, but their campaign may have missed the nostalgia-fest that Panini and the BBC have also picked up on. Panini’s sticker albums have had a new burst of life, as a new generation of boys raised on swapping sticker albums in the playground have children (or even just a disposable income) to justify collecting again. The BBC, meanwhile, have gone for a Subbuteo style aesthetic, to reassert their position as being a big name in football, but still small enough to keep you engaged in your living room.

The brand with the most at stake, however, is Brand Brazil. With a rapidly growing economy, the huge South American country will be looking to raise it’s international profile, in the way London 2012 did for Brand Britain. Buses have been carnavalised and samba styles have infected many other products looking for association with the tournament. Whether the brand engagement will have the same lasting impact as the London Olympics, remains to be seen – a large part of the brand success came from the tournament’s smooth-running and fantastic show. Brazil has got off to a shaky start already, with its delayed stadium preparations. Whether it can build up a positive momentum of international engagement that can peak at the next olympics will be the challenge. Otherwise, Rio 2016 may have to be a second chance for Brand Brazil. But let’s hope they don’t need it, and the Beautiful Game has a beautiful tournament lit up by its greatest champions.

Adidas – Messi’s World Cup Dream

BBC’s promotion for its coverage of the tournament

FIFA TV’s official tournament spot


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