Pepsi's soccer-themed marketing scores despite Coke being World Cup sponsor
- Pepsi's #LoveItLiveIt campaign was ranked No. 1 in terms of likeability and attention for brand campaigns running as part of or adjacent to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, per an analysis from Ace Metrix provided to Marketing Dive. Coca-Cola brand Powerade's "Unstoppable" and Coca-Cola's "Get Ready for the #FIFA World Cup" ranked second and third, respectively.
- Coke was an official beverage sponsor of the global soccer tournament while Pepsi was not. Rounding out the top-10 performing ads were Wish's "Shop Here," Qatar Airways' "Dancing in the Street," Adidas' “Creativity,” Geico’s “Longest Goal,” Gatorade's “Maximum Energy,” EA Sports' "World Cup" and McDonald's "2018 FIFA World Cup We're With You."
- Ace Metrix also found that soccer marketing still hasn't quite caught on in the U.S. Ad effectiveness, represented as an "Ace Score" in the analysis, was lowest for World Cup ads when compared to ads for this year's Super Bowl and Winter Olympics. Average attention and likeability scores for World Cup ads were also lower than for the other two sporting events.
Pepsi not holding an official World Cup sponsorship clearly didn't hinder its heavy soccer-themed marketing before and adjacent to the tournament, including a global campaign that featured star athletes like Lionel Messi and capsule clothing collections designed by artists from around the world. The brand's success in capturing attention and likeability signals how savvy marketers can still run themed advertising that matches closely-watched events like the World Cup in order to get in on the hype and drive awareness.
However, the Ace Metrix analysis shows that soccer-focused advertising still doesn't quite resonate with American audiences, despite the sport's increasing popularity stateside. Many of the campaigns that ranked highly in the analysis, including Pepsi's, starred players who didn't register by name with U.S. consumers, for example.
The study still uncovered some running creative themes from the best-performing ads. Pepsi's product close-ups helped with brand recall. The storyline in Powerade's push connected with viewers who weren't particularly interested in soccer, while Adidas' ad resonated with those who were. Qatar Airway's ad featured an attention-grabbing song that was mentioned in 15% of verbatim comments. The over-dramatic goal celebration in Geico's ad particularly resonated with Hispanic audiences, with 56% of those surveyed saying they would be likely to share it in their social circles.
Even though the U.S. men's national team didn’t qualify for this year's World Cup, many brands were still focused on the event. Fox Sports, which outbid ESPN to air the tournament in the U.S., expects it will beat U.S. TV ad spending for ABC and ESPN's broadcast of the 2014 World Cup, according to Adweek.