Real Time Marketing with Bite


"Finally, we have the Cup!" a relieved and ecstatic Bastian Schweinsteiger proclaimed.

Germany are the 2014 World Cup winners; and from a German perspective, the tournament could not have been better - not least for the local marketing and advertising industry! Nearly every brand attempted to capture the attention of the masses during the five weeks of the tournament. But what became clear this time round, was that there was a lot more attention and focus on real-time marketing and social media.


"Dear Luis, we also have tasty Italians"

Marketing in real time was clearly a winner at this World Cup. One of the most popular moments was Luis Suárez' "bite attack" that spread throughout social media networks and other channels like wild fire. Many brands were quick to react and leverage the event: Mc Donalds Uruguay sent out a tweet addressed directly to Suarez, telling him that he should ease his hunger by chomping on a Big Mac instead. It clocked up a cool 77,000+ retweets. Others got in on the act too: Snickers with their "More satisfying than Italian" post (Editoral Image) or German car rental company Sixt who drew attention to their Italian rental cars by posting "Dear Luis, we also have tasty Italians". These three companies - and many others - proved their real-time marketing credentials by reacting quickly with creative and witty messages.

"I'm never flying your shitty airline again"

Brands can, however, make misjudgments when attempting to capture thezeitgeistusing real-time marketing. Dutch airline KLM send out an (in)famous "Adios Amigos" tweet with a picture of a departures sign following The Netherlands' win against Mexico. What was intended as a lighthearted bit of fun caused Mexicans' blood to boil. The storm of angry tweets that followed included one from Mexican superstar actor Gael García Bernal who tweeted to his 1.93 million followers: "I'm never flying your shitty airline again. F*** you big time!" With the thousands of retweets, as well as the extensive news coverage of his message, it is easy to see how a brand's reputation can be damaged through a misjudged tweet sent out in haste in the real-time battle to be quick.


"Not sure if Neuer is a goalie or defender"

What remained a niche phenomenon four years ago, became a real trend at this World Cup: Memes. Germany's 7-1 victory, in particular, provided a great reason for people to get creative online. Photos of the iconic Cristo Statue in Rio were photoshopped with  Angela Merkel's face, whilst following Germany vs. Algeria, Futurama character Fry was left wondering whether Manuel Neuer is actually a goalkeeper or a defender.

Unsurprisingly, the trend of creating memes has not been lost on brands either. German sportswear giant adidas was particularly creative: when Manuel Neuer put in his famous "sweeper-keeper" performance against Algeria @adidasfussball posted an image of the German goalkeeper clearing the ball with the text: "Who needs hands?" Or when Germany hoisted the World Cup aloft, they were quick to post an image of the team accompanied by the slogan "Party 4.0" - all accompanied by a discrete adidas logo on the photos.

It's all about tactics

Whether it's on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - marketing is everywhere. Whilst some brands found it quite easy to gain traction - such as Adidas as an official World Cup sponsor and sports brand - others had more difficulty associating their company's products with the world's premier football event. Incontience protection brand TENA Men attempted to increase awareness for its brand by showing a man wearing its product with the slogan: "More safety in midfield". The negative coverage commenting on TENA Men's ad goes to show that creating a tedious link to something not relevant to your brand is not advisable. In real-time marketing - as in other marketing disciplines - marketers would do well to remember a key trait they apply to other channels: authenticity.