Soccer aficionados are some of the most passionate and dedicated fans on the globe. So naturally, when the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off in Russia this past summer, scores of brands capitalized on the super fandom ignited by this significant cultural moment, from Visa’s Everywhere Lounge hospitality program to Hyundai’s team slogan competition to Vivo’s brand experience pavilions.
But what about the soccer fans within the U.S.? Though the U.S. national team did not qualify for the 2018 tournament, brands created a space to court a young, digitally-savvy, diverse audience with viewing parties, athlete appearances, influencers within the soccer scene and even a FIFA esports tournament. Here’s how Budweiser, adidas and Wells Fargo activated for U.S. soccer fans this year.
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The Robokeeper kept soccer fans active and in a competitive mood during the event.
As the global beer sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, Budweiser wanted to celebrate with soccer fans in its own backyard, engaging in the process craft beer-obsessed millennials who might never have tried a Bud (gasp!). The result was a 750-person Budweiser LIVE World Cup final viewing event in New York City that featured soccer influencers and athletes, local art, gear customized by a fashion icon, international music talent and kegs and eggs.
“It was a great fit because there’s a great soccer watching culture here, whether that’s from internationals moving to New York, carrying their traditions and their fandom with them, or just the new fans. There’s definitely an uprising in American culture in terms of people that are becoming soccer fans,” says Nick Burt, manager-experiential marketing at Anheuser-Busch.
With the match starting at 11 a.m., Budweiser opened the doors at 8 a.m. After all, kegs and eggs is not a rare experience for soccer fans. For many, it happens every weekend while fans watch leagues like the English Premier League, which, thanks to the time difference between the U.S. and the UK, airs games as early as 7 a.m. eastern time. For attendees who didn’t want eggs for breakfast, food trucks provided options for purchase (Mosaic, New York City, and DS Projects, New York City, handled).
Touchpoints included the FIFA gaming lounge, where attendees could play FIFA 2018 on PlayStation 4 units, as well as LED-illuminated foosball, a GIF booth featuring Budweiser’s Man of the Match trophy, mural art by local artists, and a Budweiser LIVE soccer jersey customization station with embroidered patches and an inkjet gun. Local soccer influencers and soccer freestylers performing stunts were also in attendance, and the “Men in Blazers” of NBC Sports provided pre-match, halftime and post-game analysis. In addition, there was the notoriously difficult Robokeeper game, often used in soccer activations and even more often, unbeatable.
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