With the 2022 FIFA World Cup fast approaching, audio channels offer brands the opportunity to seamlessly engage in conversations and highlight consistent brand values.
Football fans and brands will eagerly await this year’s Fifa World Cup, which Wavemaker forecasts are expected to attract 5 billion viewers this winter and generate approximately $141 million in additional advertising revenue.
Sporting events and advertising have long gone hand in hand, with brands keen to be seen by the huge audiences that major tournaments attract and sporting organizations and media companies poised to capitalize on these lucrative partnerships. However, advertisers at this year’s World Cup will face a range of challenges, from ethical concerns over Qatar hosting the tournament to strategic conflicts over the timing of the event, which falls within the ‘golden quarter’.
Audio offers brands a seamless, natural and brand-safe way to engage fans / Bernhard Oberle
This isn’t the first time the World Cup has proven to be a challenge for brands; For example, the controversy over hosting the tournament in Russia in 2018 is well documented. However, as fans demand more from both sports governing bodies and brands to create positive social change, it is vital that advertisers communicate in a relevant, accountable and safe manner. Your task? To reflect consumer opinion and maintain brand reputation when creating campaigns guaranteed to have both high visibility and scrutiny.
Brands need to be both socially conscious and creative to win at this year’s World Cup, and audio is a brand-safe way to cut through the noise of a busy advertising season.
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Being relevant means being attuned to trends and channels that consumers are already engaging with. There are strong links to audio in sport because it is a vehicle of identification and belonging. When you think of any major football match, whether it’s singing the national anthems, the referee blowing the whistle or cheering on fans, sound plays a key role in creating emotion and atmosphere. Try watching a televised game silently and see the difference it makes.
Audio’s impact is evident throughout the football fan’s experience: in the excitement of radio commentary, the heated debate of fan phone calls, or the creation of memorable moments through football anthems. So it makes sense that it also feeds into branding campaigns.
In 2014, for example, Adidas’ World Cup campaign spanned multiple platforms – with YouTube clips garnering 38 million views and 2.1 million #allin hashtag mentions on Twitter – and combined music and sound to engage viewers . Blending Kanye West’s God Level with the shouts of the crowd, the sounds of journalists and photographers, and the movements of footballers running, attacking, and scoring goals, culminated in an exciting, sensory experience that reflected the feeling of playing the game itself see.
Another major brand that has benefited from audio’s emotional power and global language is Coca-Cola, which used African singer K’naan’s song Wavin’ Flag in 2010 to gain traction in both local and international markets – with the song topping the charts in 17 countries. This year, we see Hyundai teaming up with acclaimed Korean pop group BTS to break the news of their sustainability project and Goal of the Century campaign.
Aside from the clear power of pairing music with campaigns, there are countless ways brands can interact with the other sound-centric side of football during the 2022 World Cup: think podcasts, radio commentary and debates from local stations around the world, player interviews and Features. Pundits, podcasters, journalists and fans will all gather, discussing and analyzing every aspect of the game, with countless opportunities for brands to join the conversation.
Be a responsible advertiser
Consumers are increasingly investing in how brands can make a positive contribution to our society and culture, and are holding companies accountable for how they choose to use their influence.
When a brand decides to start the conversation around the World Cup, they may decide it’s time to talk about their values and not their products or services. We can view advertisers’ response to the pandemic as a learning experience in this regard; Safety, wellness and (relatively) togetherness were the focus above sales – a study by video advertising company Unruly even found that the less self-focused a brand is, the better off it is.
This way of thinking could also be applied to the World Cup. As with previous football collaborations such as the Rainbow Laces project – in which the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) partnered with Stonewall – combining media campaigns with powerful messages and actions is extremely effective. Indeed, actions are especially important as audiences are now savvy enough to see through wake-washing.
There are a number of ways brands can engage in these conversations, such as: B. working with individual community groups, teams, players and charities, raising awareness, providing funds and ensuring internal values and practices stand up to scrutiny. Audio is a powerful vehicle to get this message across, as ads or branding can be placed in the forums where these conversations naturally take place, such as: B. Sports podcasts and radio broadcasts.
Play it safe
Context has never been more important in advertising, which is why audio is one of the best ways for brands to ensure their World Cup message isn’t associated with controversial or inappropriate content. Listeners listen to music to unwind from the world around them and to podcasts to find inspiration or learn more about who and what they love. Advertising in this curated environment is generally a safer bet for brands, and if they can sponsor positive content at the same time, it will work in their favor.
Additionally, transcription technology has come a long way since its inception, providing a clear, detailed idea of the content of podcast episodes. Advertisers can use this information to search for or avoid specific topics and ensure their ads contextually complement the content while confidently avoiding unsafe content.
What is the game plan?
The World Cup is a truly compelling global event that few, if any, can match. Bringing together 32 nations competing in 64 matches, the tournament is widely celebrated and attracts even non-fans with its sheer size, atmosphere and sense of community. It’s that sense of togetherness that brands should lean towards.
This requires a clear strategy ahead of the November kick-off – aligning key messages with real values and practices. The growing popularity of audio offers brands an opportunity to do it in a way that speaks directly to their audience – a win-win for both.
Michal Marcinik is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AdTonos.