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Brands leverage World Cup for visibility, patronage

Official 2018 FIFA World Cup match-ball

Stories by Princewill Ekwujuru

VARIOUS Nigerian brands are locked in fierce supremacy battle for more market share and visibility leveraging on the opportunity provided by the 2018 FIFA World Cup holding in Russia from tomorrow to July 15th. This is reflected in the creative marketing campaigns and product rebranding by producers, Stadium tours and branding, aimed at extending reach ahead of the competition.


Among other things, the producers are adopting and unveiling some players participating in the World Cup as brand ambassadors. Given  the global focus on this sporting event, many official sponsors (companies) attempt to capture the attention of consumers. The companies do this through the help of deeper internet penetration and increasing level of television viewership and Smartphones.

They have also deployed the digital marketing (online) campaign strategy to reach targeted audience during the competition.

Africa-Global viewership

Based on the estimated  3.2 billion people globally expected to watch the competition, and with Africa’s population estimated at 1.26 billion in 2016 according to Geopoll, a South Africa-based research firm, companies are hell- bent on scooping more market share through advertising throughout the duration of the competition.

According to the research, 74 per cent of Ghanaians,  70 per cent of South Africans, 66 percent of Senegalese, 61 per cent of Tanzanians and 60 per cent of Nigerians are expected to watch the games, which is estimated to be over 600 million people watching from their homes with friends, which do not totally eliminate the traditional community viewing centres.

As a result of these, broadcast stations like Digital System for Television, DSTV channel; Supersport, KweseTV, SABC, StarTimes and CANAL+ have acquired the media rights to air the football contest across the continent. National TV channels are also competing for partnerships to offer live coverage to keep viewers tuned in, leading to increased competition for advertising space.

For instance, Life’s Good, LG, recently unveiled Alex Iwobi as its brand ambassador, Kwese TV adopted Mikel Obi as its brand face, SevenUp Bottling Company, SBC, producers of Pepsi under franchise from PepsiCo of United States of America featured Victor Moses and other Super Eagles players in its Pepsi campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Coca Cola/Nigeria Bottling Company, NBC conducted the World Cup trophy tour, while it also commenced a promo tagged: Win a trip to Russia, to take 22 consumers to Russia and special Coke bottle for the competition.

Cadbury Nigeria Plc’s Tom Tom earned the official status as the candy brand for the Nigerian team, it also rebranded the product wrapper to reflect the green white green colour of Nigeria.

Likewise, Nigerian Breweries Plc signed a pact with the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, that sees its brands; Star Lager and Amstel malta as official drinks for the Nigerian team at the Russia 2018 World Cup campaign.

Aiteo, an oil and gas company boosted Super Eagles’ Russia 2018 World Cup campaign with N50 million.

Others are Guinness Nigeria Plc, Hisense, Adidas, SoKlin, Total, Opera News, PZ Cussons and Nokia amongst others. Panasonic is offering discounts and promotions to retailers even as the World Cup coincides with the Ramadan.

Companies react

Speaking,  Public Affairs and Communication Manager, CCNL, Mrs. Nwamaka Onyemelukwe said: “Globally, Coca-Cola has been the official FIFA World Cup partner since 1974 and sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Tournament since 1978.”

Also speaking, Mr. Uche Onwudiwe, Marketing Manager, Guinness said: “For Guinness Nigeria, supporting the campaign is first and foremost about celebrating the passion and the energy; the sweat and the grind; the hopes, the dreams and the hunger; the creativity and the national fervour, that combine so neatly to define Nigerian football. Our #ShakuShakuforNaija campaign is one means by which all of this is creatively expressed.”

Ad practitioners speak

Speaking, ad practitioners were optimistic that brand owners will leverage on the competition to create visibility for their brands as well as increase their market share. Norkor Duah, Vice-President, International Advertising Association, IAA, Africa Development told C&M: “The World Cup is about how the brands connect with the various viewers in the various audiences in a way that will be touching their heart, and I think that is the biggest role.

You do not just put the ad you have been running two years on air because you want attention. It has to be relevant to the audience, to their state of mind at the time they are watching the matches.

“Advertising during the World Cup is going to be phenomenal, it will probably be the biggest opportunity for any brand, but look at it from the point of the brand experience the consumers are going to get. Some are going to do it in such a way that they are going to look at the total experience from how they engage the consumers, how they make sure consumers understand the brand’s relevance at this particular time and how the brands will touch them in a special way.”

Managing Director, Noah’s Ark, Mr. Lanre    Adisa said: “I think first and foremost, any nation that gets to play at the world stage is a huge opportunity for any marketer, knowing what football is to Nigerians. Some of the clubs in the premiership have their largest fan base in Nigeria, Arsenal for instance. So, the fact that Nigeria is playing makes it more re-assuring that any brand that invests in football this season will have a captive audience.”

On ads that touch consumers’ heart, he said: “We have seen that with the businesses that we handle, when we get to talk to people and touch their hearts, it is profitable for those brands, and at the end of the day, they get loved by the consumers and get patronised by the consumer and they have a surer future as regards the business.”

The Acting Registrar, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Ijedi Iyoha said: “Advertising at the competition will increase brand owners’ sales and create awareness of their brands. It will be a constant reminder that this brand is still relevant, whether they project old or new ads the ads become a constant reminder to the consumers.”

Corroborating Adisa’s comment, the Managing Director, Insight Publicis Nigeria, Feyi Olubodun said: “Football is like the only true religion that consumers have in Nigeria.

It is a very huge passion point, brands do not just advertise, but they leverage connection, consumer affinity and closeness. Those are areas that they will stand to gain a lot. It is an emotional period, especially because Nigeria is playing. Nigerians will be looking out for brands that engage them on multiple levels as consumers.”

In using an old ad, in contrast to the comments of the APCON Registrar, he said: “It wouldn’t work, consumers are very smart. They know what has been running for a while, and they will pick it up, so it’s not going to work, they got to see that there is an original effort and content put out to engage them during this period.”

In addition, President, IAA Nigeria, Tunji Olugbodi stated: “The World Cup will impact brands that advertise, it will also impact brands that are smart because a lot more gets done, and get to happen because of the universality of soccer. It is not just about what is happening on the field.”

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