From the editor-in-chief: A new World Cup order

And so the 20th World Cup kicks off in Brazil. Whereas only four years ago sponsors were spending twice as much on TV advertising as on internet marketing, now the amounts are equalising.

As Alex Benady’s in-depth piece reveals, this will be the most ‘social’ competition yet – but only in one sense.

The major sponsors, both official and unofficial, are shifting promotional spend away from traditional bought media, towards owned and earned media.

Research firm eMarketer predicts that by the next World Cup in 2018, sponsors will be investing 18 per cent more online than in TV.

Brands are spending more than ever on the World Cup but real growth will come from non-bought, and largely social, media. Some believe for every pound spent on sponsorship another pound is now spent on amplification. In adidas’ case, this takes the form of ‘news rooms’; an example of brands becoming ‘publishers’ around global events.

For what was once known as the PR industry, this is critical information. If professionals are not adapting to this new world order they will fail to tap into the biggest hope for real growth over the next decade.

There is also a sense that the World Cup is losing its ‘sociability’, however. The scandals that have recently hit FIFA – added to doubts over the social benefits of hosting a World Cup – mean the whole enterprise’s social responsibility score is struggling. Sponsors have even started to express concern over the imp­act on the credibility of their investment.

Again there’s an opportunity for comms professionals here: to apply the highest standards of reputation management from the corporate and political worlds to sporting organisations that appear to lack transparency and ethics.

Danny Rogers is editor-in-chief of The Brand Republic Group

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