Bend it Like Brazuca

June 20, 2014 digital marketing

Earlier this year, with Spain’s flags, painted on their faces and beer mugs in their hands, a bunch of Spanish soccer fans in Madrid waited with anticipation. The anticipation could’ve been mistaken for 2014 FIFA World Cup, but that was still a few months away. The fans were waiting for the ‘Brazuca’ to arrive – the official ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Tapping into New Channels

Just prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Adidas launched what was the most massive marketing campaign in its history. A chunk of this campaign was reserved for the digital space. Adidas is the official creator of the World Cup ball since the 1960s. Taking note of how the digital space had evolved over the last four years, Adidas nearly tripled its digital marketing efforts as compared to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

One of the brand’s most successful and widely anticipated campaign was held in Brazil in late-2012 to give a name to the official Football ball. Over a million Brazilian football fans voted for Brazuca as the name. Brazuca, meaning ‘The Brazilian life’, lent a distinct character to the ball and got it a huge fan following. Even as we speak, Brazuca’s official Twitter account (@brazuca) has crossed a million and a half followers that include such fancy names as The Pope, Hugh Jackman, and Samuel Jackson.

Engaging with Fans

Brazuca comes with six cameras fitted into it, to record and show the world’s most popular sport from a new perspective. Adidas sent the ball on a world tour before the start of the World Cup to cities like London, Madrid, New York, etc. The build-up to the World Cup and exciting videos of fans cheering for their teams were recorded by this ball. The video clips of which, can be viewed online, including on Brazuca’s Twitter account.

After the start of the tournament, the ball has traveled on and off the field through tunnels and dugouts in Brazil’s stadiums, giving a never-seen-before view of team huddles and field sidelines. Fans, who otherwise would need special passes and permissions to be in these places are getting to see never seen before footage of World Cup games, on and off the field at the swipe of a finger!

Apart from loyal soccer fans, Adidas is counting on this new ‘ball-perspective’ to rope in viewers and internet users, who would not have shown much interest in the sport otherwise.

Understanding the Sport-Internet Symbiosis

Brazuca’s super-success is evidence that Adidas has decoded the digital marketing space very well. Apart from engaging content (fan footage and on-field clips), Brazuca’s official Twitter account is giving out Brazucas signed by Messi, Alves, and other soccer stars. For fans to own a piece of World Cup history is reason enough to follow the account and interact with it.

Adidas’s Brazuca campaign is a rather erudite lesson for digital marketers. While behind-the-scenes footage will always attract people in hordes, where Brazuca has scored is in balancing the content, interaction, and promotion activities wonderfully. After all, not every day do you see a ball tweet “The world’s watching #Messi, but he only has eyes for me.”

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