By Kait Shea
Everywhere Lounge engagements began with a bleeding-edge 3D avatar scan.
The logistics alone will blow your mind: 64 matches over 32 days in 11 cities and 12 stadiums. Even for an industry veteran like Visa, pulling off FIFA World Cup sponsorship experiences across the world’s largest country—and smaller-scale activations in 100-plus markets around the globe—was no easy feat. But FIFA’s official payment services provider was up to the challenge. The brand marked its third World Cup sponsorship with an extensive Everywhere Lounge hospitality program for 3,000 cardholders, cutting-edge technology, a partnership with renowned “footballer” Zlatan Ibrahimović and in-stadium experiences. The name of the campaign says it all: Ultimate FIFA World Cup FOMO. Here’s the play-by-play.
Sponsorships of this caliber are what drive ROI for Visa, according to Jenny Stahl, the brand’s director of global hospitality management. But what made Visa’s World Cup sponsorship special this time around were the pass-through rights (rights that the rights-holder is allowed to transfer to another company) afforded to its clients and merchant partners. The arrangement helped “drive business conversation” and strengthen client relationships, Stahl says.
“From a client activation standpoint, at its foundation, what we can offer our clients is pass-through rights and the right to utilize that FIFA IP, which is something that hardly anybody else can do,” says Stahl. “There’s huge value to that because the majority of businesses can’t afford to have rights to do that… We’ve seen over 100 regions and over 500 partners and clients around the world that we’ve given pass-through rights to participate, which is huge.”
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The unmistakable star of Visa’s World Cup sponsorship was its extensive four-day, five-night hospitality program for 3,000 cardholders from over 100 countries. Based on the outcome of the event’s draw (a list of which teams will face each other during the first round of the tournament), the brand chose to concentrate its hospitality efforts in Moscow and St. Petersburg where it activated its Everywhere Lounge experience at Moscow Marriott Hotel Novy Arbat and Four Seasons St. Petersburg. The setup allowed each cardholder to spend two to three nights enjoying lounge activations before, in most cases, traveling to another city to see their favorite team play—all on Visa’s dime.
Before heading to Russia, hospitality guests registered online. Once on-site, they were given a commemorative contactless payment wristband wired with either RFID or NFC technology. The credential was attached to their personal profile, which contained personalized information like the individual’s preferred language and favorite soccer team.
Everywhere Lounge engagements began with a bleeding-edge 3D avatar scan powered by Texel that was sent to participants in video form and designed for social sharing. (“It’s so life-like it’s actually considered personal information,” says Stahl.) Then it was on to a Shooting for the Stars game built by Inition that was experienced …read more