The ongoing World Cup, the third tournament since Facebook's creation in 2003 and Twitter's explosion in 2006, will be the most sociable ever. Twitter saw more tweets before the competition kicked off on Thursday than it did for the whole of the 2010 campaign. Of the 32 competing nations, 30 have official twitter accounts and more than 300 participating players tweet, presenting the possibility of ever higher levels of player to fan engagement during the tournament.
The creation of social media means brands now have a new means by which to attract customers - if campaigns are executed properly. Here's a look at some of the social media strategies being employed in Brazil.
Adidas unveiled its 'All In or Nothing' campaign, designed to go head-to-head with Nike's 'Risk Everything' initiative. Comprising TV and Youtube ads, 'All In or Nothing' is predominantly social-centric, offering fans the chance to opt out or in of Adidas' digital initiatives during the World Cup. The apparel brand is clearly looking to grow its social media audience and launched the campaign at a time when it is rumoured to be chasing a £1.6 billion sales target for its football division, intended to combat declines across other key markets. With this in mind, limiting its potential customer base seems strange. Though Adidas has secured significant traction across social platforms through its ambassadors, this sports agency believes the decision to restrict content based on customers' understanding of the brand's values seems like an own goal.
Official tournament sponsor, Sony, has created the digital initiative, 'ONE STADIUM LIVE'. Optimized for smartphone, tablet, and personal computers the platform collates football-related social media content from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ in one place. Topics and posts from around the world will be organized according to people's interests and relevance, sorted to show the most popular, latest or most relevant football news. Sony believes it is creating a more enhanced experience for fans as the world becomes increasingly connected. However whilst simplifying World Cup content for sports fans is noble, presenting the initiative as an 'innovation' in social media is misplaced. Platforms like Sportlobster have been employing a similar model for a while and with Sportlobster passing the 1 million-user mark recently, it's clear which brand is more dominant.
What looks promising for 'ONESTADIUMLIVE' is its use of team profiles for each of the 32 competing nations. Delivering insights into fans' own teams and the opposition satisfies every supporter's desire to be tactically and strategically informed. With this tournament only in its infancy, it remains to be seen how successful 'ONESTADIUMLIVE' will be.
Leveraging the tournament's popularity, Twitter released its World Cup Dream Team based on the social networking site's most mentioned players. Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Neymar comprise the front three, with Mesut Ozil, Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas also featuring. The announcement looks like a sports PR win for brands such as Nike, Castrol and Adidas, as they sponsor Ronaldo, Neymar and Ozil respectively. With Ronaldo recently announced as the world's most marketable player, Nike, in particular, is riding high. On examination, it's hard to see what the announcement will do for Twitter's own PR but with over 250 million users and growing, it's not like they need the exposure. If anything it indicates which players fans are most interested in and it will be fascinating to see how this changes depending on how players perform in the World Cup.
Finally, having announced its Galaxy 11 campaign back in November, Samsung last week unveiled the first chapter of its narrative, which saw 13 football stars jet off to space to face a team of alien invaders. Though not strictly linked to the World Cup, releasing the seven minute video to coincide with the start of the tournament cannot be a coincidence. The multi-platform campaign is designed to draw attention to Samsung's devices, including Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy gear. The brand stresses fan engagement will become more crucial as the narrative progresses, with social media at the heart. Samsung had previously unveiled its ambassador's on social media using the hashtag #Gallaxy11 and the trend has gathered pace ever since. Given the levels of interest and engagement on Twitter, the campaign so far looks successful. Spreading the story of the Gallaxy 11 out over a number of chapters, captivates fans' attention over a longer period.