Can you incorporate the football into your marketing?

By: Marketing Donut contributor

Date: 18 June 2014

Can you incorporate the football into your marketing?/Footballer foot kicking the ball{{}}Unless you’ve been living the life of a hermit for the past few months, you’re bound to be aware of the major international football tournament that began in Brazil this week. Like any other worldwide occasion, this year’s Brazilian sporting event has the attention of everyone on the planet — and with that in mind, provides the perfect marketing opportunity for businesses.

What you may not have realised, however, is the number of pitfalls that companies will have to dodge in order to run a successful marketing campaign that takes full advantage of the world’s attention on Brazil.

Are you wondering why this article is skirting the issue of saying exactly what the event is that we’re talking about? That omission is with good reason. What small businesses may not be aware of is that the football governing body in charge of the tournament has a list of protected terms that are trademarked and therefore should not be used unless you are an official sponsor. While the biggest sporting event of the year is the perfect opportunity to tailor your marketing campaign, you’ll also have to be extremely careful about how exactly you go about it.

Here are the terms that you shouldn’t be using:

  • 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
  • 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • FIFA World Cup
  • FIFA
  • World Cup
  • 2014 World Cup
  • World Cup 2014
  • Brazil 2014
  • 2014 Brazil
  • Football World Cup
  • Soccer World Cup
  • Copa 2014
  • Copa do Mundo
  • Mundial 2014
  • Mundial de Futebol Brasil 2014
  • Copa do Mundo 2014
  • Host city names + 2014 (such as Rio 2014)

You may well have had a glance over these terms and instantly thought that there is no chance of setting up a successful campaign without being penalised by the governing body.

A tale of two brands

This is far from the case, as two rival brands demonstrate. On one side, you have Adidas — one of the official sponsors for the tournament. The well-known sports clothing brand has recently launched a global advertising campaign, under the name The Dream. It sees football icons like Lionel Messi, Mesut Özil, Robin van Persie and Luis Suárez in the spotlight, with Kanye West providing the beats with a new rap.

On the other side is fellow sports clothing brand Nike. While the company is not an official sponsor of the event, it has managed to avoid all of the governing body’s advertising rules and regulations to create The Last Game. During the animated, five-and-a-half minute clip set in Brazil, fans are sure to recognise such familiar faces as Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrés Iniesta and Brazil’s own Neymar in the commercial.

The only thing that differentiates the commercials is the use of the official terms. And that only becomes apparent when you’re looking for them. And, at the time of writing, it looks as though Nike has already stolen a march on official sponsors Adidas.

It just shows you don’t necessarily need to be endorsed in order to be successful and that the use of the terms isn’t vital to jumping on the football bandwagon.

To further highlight the points made in this article, this entire piece was produced while avoiding all of the protected terms, except for when they were listed in the interest of the reader. Not the easiest of tasks — but definitely possible. And you still knew what we were talking about.

This article was submitted by marketing agency Kommando