Five Social Media / Digital Activations From the World Cup To Note

Major brands have come out in full force for the World Cup from a social media and digital perspective. After all, this is THE most social sporting event we have ever seen.  Below are five social / digital activations that have caught my eye so far (note: this is focused solely on social media activations and not the stellar content / video we have seen from brands):

1. US Soccer: Surprises & Delights

If you tweet at @USSoccer in support of the team (while using the hashtag #USMNT) there’s a good chance you’ll get your very own personalized jersey:

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This is probably my favorite social media activation from the World Cup so far because it’s simple, easy and thanks fans. US Soccer didn’t have to advertise this initiative and force it down fans throats for it to be successful. Their fans would already be tweeting in support of their team, with or without this campaign. Quite simply, this is a great way to say “thank you”.

2. Volkswagen: Real-Time Marketing Done Right

While Volkswagen is not an official sponsor, they have found a creative way to tap into the World Cup action. VW is recreating the goals scored at the World Cup in near real-time then sharing them on Twitter and using them as targeted ads:

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 2.10.32 PMI often have a beef with real-time marketing because it tends to be forced. While yes, VW did have to stretch to make their brand relevant to the World Cup, they did so in a fashion that is creative and on point with their brand.

3. Adidas: Turning an Inanimate Object Into a Personality

Creating an account around an event is not an easy task, because as we all know, it takes a long time to build an engaged and robust following. More often than not, I would discourage a company from creating an account for a one-time event.  Every now and then though an idea is sparked where it just makes sense. Adidas’ @brazuca, the official match ball of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, is one of those times.

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Adidas scored a goal with @brazuca for a couple reasons:

  • They launched the ball early enough to gain a following and exciting around the account (went live in December).
  • They really took the time to develop a persona behind the ball. @brazuca is not just #ballin. @brazuca is extremely funny.
  • The created some create content around @brazuca leading up to the World Cup, including their “Around the World” video that received more than 750,000 views.

Yes, @brazuca is a star (just look at the engagement):

4. Visa: Transporting Fans to the World Cup

I’m taking one for the team by posting the YouTube video above, but The Teletransporter from Visa reminds me a lot of the dancing elves that always circulate around the holidays. And while this might not be my kind of thing, there are swarms of people who love silly activations like this. This is executed extremely well by Visa because the point of entry is seamless and the social sharing mechanisms are stellar (complete with your own YouTube video at the end).  Here’s a look at the easy steps I went through to get this video made:

You can read more about Visa’s digital initiatives here.

5. Twitter: Rallying Passion with Hashflags

I know I’ve already talked about Twitter’s success with the World Cup, but the hashflags can’t be left out here. There are two reasons why hashflags have been so successful. First, they allow fans to tap into their passion for their team.  Second, emojis are a familiar trend right now and hashflags are basically Twitter’s sports version of emojis.


There is a lot going on with the World Cup right now, so I’m sure I missed a few good activations. Please share any other ones that have caught your eye in the comment section below!


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  1. Nice post, Jess. Great list here. Nike Football won over many with their #RiskEverything animated short film. Not being a sponsor yet stealing the show has become Nike strategy (they did the same at FIFA2010 with “Write the Future” -a star-studded 3 minute epic, and again by taking an almost anti-athletic stance just before the London Olympics 2012 with Find Your Greatness.) But those are films.
    In terms of digital activations, what stood out for me this year was:
    – Google Search going full-on with their doodles turning into live WC2014 display boards.
    – Twitter went further with customized FIFA profiles. Must say, hashflags are indeed game-changers.
    – While Brazil Inc. did not splash out on opening day, FIFA World Cup themselves are doing a terrific job conducting the event via social/ digital. Their new Instagram account opened a week before kick-off.
    – Football stars (with their celebrity brand management entourage) are major social movers and shakers. This year’s stars towering above the others in the social field are Zlatan and Neymar Jr.
    But hey, the championship has only just begun. Here’s to a great month ahead…

  2. Another aspect I find very helpful as a fan, live stats advocate, and a social butterfly is the official FIFA World Cup App. In it you can pick your favorite teams and look up information on just about everything about the team. You can also “enter the global stadium” which gives you live scores and a ‘match cast’ to stay engaged when you don’t have the ability to stream video. I even find it helpfil to follow along while watching on my traditional television. In the global stadium you can post to Facebook or Twitter along with others who are talking about the match. I encourage anyone to check it out and applaud the developers.

    I am also anxious to see if the new snapchat “our story” is used before the World Cup is over by fans or brands in attendance.

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