As football teams faced each other during the FIFA World Cup 2014, so did the brands which sponsored the tournament. The prize however was the viewer’s attention. With the FIFA World Cup 2014 on Sony SIX featuring sponsors such as Hero MotoCorp, XOLO Mobiles, Nirma, Pepsi, Apollo Tyres, Samsung Galaxy mobiles and Nike creating advertisements to grab the football fans’ attention in India. With over 60 million viewers in India, we take a look at how brands played against each other through their ads to get the viewers.
Ads specially made for the Indian audience
Hero MotoCorp has created an ad ‘GoHeroGo’ that involved an interplay of visuals of a football skills and bike skills.
The motorcycle company tried to bring a similarity between the bike and football skills in order to connect to football fans. Further to this, Hero MotoCorp had sponsored special properties on the Café Rio show such as ‘Hero Play of the Day’, ‘Hero Man of the Match’ and ‘Hero Young Player of the Day’ which showcased a replay of the selected goal or player that was crucial to the game. This was one of the brands that really pushed itself to establish a connection with the FIFA audience.
Another top sponsor for the tournament XOLO Mobiles used a different approach grab the attention of football fans in India. Their ‘XOLO Mission Million’ ad used their association with top English Premier League club Liverpool and featured clips of Liverpool player of the likes of Suarez and Skrtel juggling with the ball and passing it to people from different walks of life in India. However, the ad fails to explain to the audience what this ‘Mission Million’ is all about.
One of the best surprises was Nirma who released their ad for the tournament. Taking a different approach they focused on kids. The ad involves kids playing football and the ball going into an elderly man’s home who come out furiously with a ball and a pair of sharp scissors and threatens to burst their football. In a show of defiance they remove their shirts and tie them on the ball and continue playing. This wins over the old man’s heart and he returns the ball to the boys. Though the ad may not make clear sense about the product and what it had to do with the melting of the old man’s heart, but it definitely tries to bring the spirit of the game through the kids playing.
Like XOLO Mobiles, Apollo Tyres also used their association with another top English Premier League club Manchester United to connect with the audience. The TVC called ‘Go the Distance, featured an interplay of clips of star players such as Robin Van Persie and David De Gea practicing and at the same time are clips of the testing of the tyres.
Pepsi on the other hand stuck with the international format ad for the world cup. Featuring some star footballer such as Sergio Ramos, David Luiz and Messi, the ad shows a young kid walking through the streets of Brazil with a bottle of Pepsi and creating music as he walks along.
The Samsung Galaxy mobile ad too was an international ad featuring a long star cast of football players such as Ronaldo, Messi, Rooney, Gotze and Oscar. Based on a Sci-fi theme the players with the help of the phone are sent to defeat alien forces invading the earth.
Nike took the approach of creating an animated short film called ‘The Last Game’ which has football players animated and playing against clones and was launched a month before the world cup. With the tagline ‘Risk Everything’ the $1.9 billion animated short film features the risks these football stars take that make the game worth watching.
While these were the sponsors who tried to vie for the attention of football fans through their unique creatives, there were many others that did not go the same way. Whether the efforts of brands that created special ads to cater to the Indian audience worked over the International brand efforts is yet to be seen, but with regards to raising the football fever in India they both definitely took it up another level.