Despite US draw, brands use World Cup tie-ins as winning social strategy

With US consumer interest in soccer at an all-time high, brands tied themselves to the US men's national soccer team and its players on Sunday night to continue building buzz on social media for campaigns they launched for the World Cup.

The US men's national soccer team's Jozy Altidore in a campaign for Adidas
The US men's national soccer team's Jozy Altidore in a campaign for Adidas

With US consumer interest in soccer at an all-time high, brands tied themselves to the US men’s national soccer team and its players on Sunday night to continue building buzz on social media for campaigns they launched for the World Cup.

The US squad drew 2-2 with Portugal on Sunday evening after holding a 2-1 lead into the game’s final moments. The match, which aired on ESPN, received a 9.1 overnight rating, the best ever for a World Cup game on the network or sister channel ESPN2.  

Here’s how five brands kept up the World Cup excitement on Twitter.

Adidas, which launched its #AllInOrNothing campaign for the soccer tournament at the end of May, tweeted on Sunday to remind fans about the dedication required to go "all in."

Before the game, the sports apparel brand tweeted a photo of US player Jozy Altidore, who can’t compete due to a hamstring injury, with an American flag wrapped around him. The post included a tweet from Altidore’s account that said, "Wish I was out there tonight, but working hard to get back. No matter what, I’m #allin or nothing."

Adidas also posted a photo of US player Graham Zusi during the game, saying, "There when his nation needs him. @gzusi is #allin or nothing."

Beats by Dre also continued its World Cup effort on Sunday, using the hashtags #GameBeforeTheGame and #KnuckleUp. Prior to the tournament, the company released a video called Game Before the Game featuring star soccer players and other athletes and celebrities, which has been viewed 10.6 million times online.

Beats also received coverage last week after soccer governing body FIFA banned players from wearing its headphones at official World Cup venues due to a sponsorship deal with Sony. Some players defied the rules and wore Beats headphones anyway.

The brand tweeted a video before the US game started on Sunday of a woman writing "USA" on her knuckles. It also retweeted Beats Music’s question to fans about what they were listening to before the game started.

Earlier this month, Nike kicked off its World Cup initiative with an animated short film of star players who wear its products, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Luiz, Wayne Rooney, and Cristiano Ronaldo. The brand posted several videos and photos on Sunday of Ibrahimovic offering insights during and after the game using the hashtag #RiskEverything.

In its Because Futbol campaign, which launched at the beginning of June, Hyundai is focusing on how the World Cup brings fans together for 30 days. It includes YouTube videos and a billboard in Times Square, and the brand is asking fans to use the hashtag #BecasueFutbol to share their passions online.

On Sunday, Hyundai continued its campaign with a tweet of sheep watching the game on TV, with the phrase, "Team USA fans everywhere right now."

JC Penney, which launched a Spanish-language marketing effort for the World Cup to target Hispanic consumers, got in on the excitement on Sunday by holding a Twitter contest using the hashtag #JCPFreeKicks.

On the microsite JCPCup.com, the retailer explained how fans could win a free pair of shoes by re-tweeting a #JCPFreeKicks tweet whenever a free kick took place during the US game. The brand tweeted throughout the entire match.

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