Rohit Dadwal
Jun 17, 2014

What’s your ‘Goal’ this World Cup season?

Mobile drives engagement at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil

What’s your ‘Goal’ this World Cup season?

According to a recent report by WeAreSocial, global internet penetration rate is 35 percent, while mobile penetration is at an astounding 93 percent. It is little wonder that mobile has become an indispensable part of our lives and key to the amplification of many significant events around the world.

One such event is the highly-anticipated 2014 World Cup, set to attract over 3.2-billion viewers across the globe. Taking place in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014, the 2014 World Cup is said to be one of the largest events in the history of marketing, with a record number of brands jumping onto the bandwagon to capture consumer attention, especially in the mobile cyberspace this year. The goal is to strengthen consumer engagement through providing greater access to content and better opportunities for interaction.

Greater access to information and entertainment

The World Cup has traditionally been broadcast across worldwide broadcast networks, attracting the attention of billions.  However, for fans on the go, the only option was to watch replays or highlights to catch-up on the happenings. Today, the story is different. Many broadcast operators and brands are embracing mobile for its ability to provide uninterrupted access to content, on the go.

Leading the pack is FIFA itself, with the launch of its global digital hub, ‘Global Stadium’. The initiative allows fans from all over the world to come together and build a community to discuss everything related to the event. The hub, accessible to users on mobile, promises to deliver ‘minute-by-minute’ updates on the events in Brazil and will be ‘open’ for each of the 64 World Cup matches. Users are able to access team news, vote for the ‘man of the match’ and even win the kick-off ball used in each game. FIFA’s online presence,, has also been revamped and optimised for mobile.

Sports news broadcaster, ESPN also announced plans to provide audiences with comprehensive coverage. Most of the world is anticipated to be engaged in multi-screening, where individual members of the audience use multiple devices such as smartphones, televisions and tablets to obtain their information and updates. Banking on this, ESPN has launched what it terms as ‘it’s most ambitious multiplatform coverage to date’. The network intends to broadcast all 64 matches of the sporting event on all its digital platforms, in addition to its traditional broadcast channels. With this, viewers will have access to high-quality content across multiple devices, allowing them to keep in touch with the world event – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Consumer Engagement via Mobile

Brands are also leveraging mobile’s ability to place contextual and relevant brand messages. Real time interaction with consumers helps brands build a relationship with them, establishing long-term brand loyalty.

Coca-Cola, one of the biggest sponsors of the 2014 World Cup, for instance, has mobile at the heart of its integrated retail and digital campaign. In the lead-up to the event, the brand has launched a series of 18 miniature collectible bottles specifically designed for the games. These bottles can be activated via an augmented reality browser or Facebook app on a consumer’s mobile device, extending the opportunity for fans to engage with the brand, build familiarity and ultimately, affinity for the brand.

Another part of Coca-Cola’s campaign is aimed at changing the way a brand interacts with customers. Traditionally, Coke would produce physical or web-based stickers of the pictures of players that can be traded with friends. This year, for the first time, an app allows consumers to access a digital sticker book via their mobiles. It also aims to use mobile as a way for fans from around the world to make ‘their presence felt’ at the 2014 World Cup match. The app allows them to post ‘selfies’ of themselves into the app, which would then be printed onto a flag, to be placed on the pitch of the opening match.

Fast food giant, McDonald’s has also jumped onto the mobile bandwagon, launching a campaign, targeted at connecting with consumers in the moment of celebration. The fast food chain is now serving its fries in FIFA World Cup special edition boxes completed with specially commissioned World Cup art. These boxes are recognized by the McDonald’s Gol! mobile app and when placed on a flat surface, transforms the box into a game where users try to score goals. The global campaign means that APAC consumers are not missing out from the fun, with countries such as Singapore and Malaysia already carrying the new packaging

It is inspiring to see such world-renowned brands integrating mobile and digital into their marketing strategies in an innovative way. I truly believe, the World Cup has captured hearts and minds around the world, and it has unified brands in a quantum leap towards mobile marketing.

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