LONDON: Brands must commit to a real-time marketing ethos if they are to win over consumers during the upcoming World Cup, said a senior Coca-Cola marketer at Advertising Week Europe 2014 in London.
Speaking during an ESPN-sponsored discussion entitled "Connected fans and brands with the World Cup across every screen," Coke’s head of assets and experiential, Paul Dwan, warned that technology will be "the difference" between this year’s tournament and that of 2010.
"In real-time, there were 2.3 billion consumers engaging with the World Cup in 2010," he said. "This year, it’ll be more like 3 billion. The biggest difference will be the need to be real-time rather than pre-planned."
The Coke marketer discussed its "very collaborative" partnership with Tumblr, through which it plans to create a "mosaic" of fans’ faces that will be unveiled in the form of a flag during the opening match of this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
Aisling McCarthy, who handles the Adidas account at social media agency We Are Social, agreed brands must put plans in place to engage fans in the right way at the right time.
"It is a reactive environment, so you need to know how fans behave in and around games. They watch the game, they update on Twitter, they second-screen. If you understand the behavior then you can work out how to engage with that," she said. "It’s similar to the Super Bowl, where brands get much bigger bang for their buck, and not just that one ad during the game."
According to Tim Collins, UK MD at sponsorship agency Octagon, brands must look to "enhance" the viewing experience rather than "distract" from it.
"[Offering] statistics really helps, and making consumers feel part of the action, giving them a voice," he said. "That’s a step in the right direction."
Dwan said Coke will aggressively defend its sponsorship against any ambush marketing from rivals such as Pepsi.
"We’re very protective of our rights," he explained. "We support sports from grassroots to the elite-level, but ultimately we’re ambassadors of the brand and the business, and we need to be guardians of the rights we buy into."
Also on the panel was former Liverpool, Real Madrid, and England soccer star Steve McManaman, who said the World Cup in Brazil will be the best yet.
"Brazil is the mythical country when it comes to football – I remember the 1982 team," he said. "It promises to be the biggest and most magical tournament so far."
This story originally appeared on the website of Marketing.