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Offering live streaming for sporting events is certainly not new, but the way that
ESPN has integrated their streaming with cable providers has been excellent. For
many soccer fans, watching the World Cup Live might have been their first
experience at a "pay for streaming" service online. Hulu is paid for by ads, and
YouTube is omnipresent - but ESPN3 took the riskier step of integrating with cable
providers. By doing so, they not only managed to prove their value to their cable
provider partners/subscribers - they also managed to create a great user experience
because they didn't force consumers to pay again for something they were already
paying for through their home cable subscription. Big win for ESPN.Ê

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Coke is an official sponsor of the World Cup and has the stadiums plastered with
their logo as you would expect. Continuing with their theme of happiness that was so
nicely brought to life through viral videos such as "The Happiness Machine,", their
World Cup spot focuses on the story of Roger Milla and his dance of celebration
during the 1990 World Cup that sparked a revolution in goal celebrations (as the ad
claims). The video is set to the official theme song of the FIFA World Cup 2010 and
the voice over is from an announcer with a South African accent (nice touch). The
last shot of Roger Milla in the stands enjoying a Coke while the voiceover talks about
how he "showed the world how to live" is pure World Cup melodramatic magic.Ê
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As the official automobile sponsor for the World Cup, KIA had fertile ground to do a
lot of great things around the World Cup. Unfortunately, their actual effort seemed
uncoordinated and confusing - with KIA Motors South Africa running a promotion all
about offering an exclusive experience to people who engaged with the South African
page or Twitter account, while the global marketing team seemed to focus on the
new Soul car with a 1 minute video (embedded below) asking "what's your soul app?"
and randomly talking about anti-gravity apps. The US KIA Twitter page doesn't even
mention anything about the World Cup, the global Facebook page offers disconnected
polls and the pieces of this campaign just seem out of sync in the unique way that
can easily happen when global teams work in their silos and never collaborate. One
commenter on their YouTube video summed it up best in their response to KIA's
question ... "My soul app is the one that blocks these kind of ads." Ouch.Ê
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Continuing their Human Network campaign* Cisco uses an engaging ad showing a
soccer juggling trick they call the "around the world" that spreads from country to
country through young soccer fans watching a video and trying to recreate that
moment. As a kid, I remember watching Jürgen Klinsmann in 1994 score an amazing
goal against South Koreans and spending months practicing and trying to perfect the
same move. Cisco managed to tap that moment that many soccer players and fans
could relate to, and demonstrate how their global network makes sharing moments
like that possible in a faster and more real way than ever before. -ü 
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Ëoted the FIFA World Player Of The Year in 2008, Cristiano Ronaldo (and his often
photographed abs) may also be the best looking player in this year's World Cup ... or
so I'm told. To capitalize on the attention, he relaunched his website during the
World Cup and last week I got a launch announcement from a PR team announcing his
new site as a place where they would be "pulling dialogue between Cristiano and his
5 million fans on Facebook and Twitter." After Portugal lost a close Round of 16
match against their neighboring rival Spain, Ronaldo was featured heavily in the
news for his comments about feeling like a "broken man." Unfortunately, he isn't
sharing this despair in any sort of dialogue with his fans and his Twitter feed has
been silent since before the Spain match. The lesson it brings to light is the central
pitfall in creating this "revolutionary" new model for dialogue between a celebrity
superstar and his fans: the whole thing falls apart if the superstar just doesn't feel
like talking.Ê

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CNN jumped into the geolocation bandwagon around the World Cup and launched a
promotion with Foursquare where they are offering special badges to people who
check in at locations within South Africa as well as at viewing parties at various
locations around the world. Though they are not broadcasting the games, this is an
interesting chance at experimentation for the brand and if it works I imagine we will
begin to see this used by other Turner Network channels like TNT around college
basketball, as well as potentially around large newsmaking events that draw a crowd
at viewing parties as well, such as national elections. Ê
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You have to give Budweiser credit for not giving up on the BudTË idea even though
their idea of a 24 hour online network fell flat. Around the FIFA World Cup, they
leveraged their sponsorship to create the Bud United house where they invite one
person from every one of the 32 finalist teams to live in a house together during the
World Cup. The only rules were that when your team was eliminated from the World
Cup, you were too. The result is an engaging online reality show that has a great
premise, interesting content and a unique sponsorship activation. The only problem
to see with this campaign is that they focused all their TË budget on running the
same ad over and over where the fans try to distract the soccer player with an
mosaic image of beer in the stands. If they used some of that budget to drive TË
audiences to check out Bud United, they would have likely increased their
engagement dramatically.Ê
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Pepsi was one of the sponsors that some felt "ambushed" the games to take away
attention from the official soft drink sponsor (Coke) and got great buzz for their TË
spot and viral video featuring people making a soccer pitch for several soccer
superstars to play against kids in a soccer challenge. The not so subtle message is
that Africa can achieve great things (like defeat international soccer stars) if her
people can work together. Ê
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Nike's online long form ad with the tagline of "Write The Future" can only be
described as epic in how it manages to take all the top tier talent they sponsor and
roll out a story that not only talks of their impact on the game and culture, but how
what happens on the World Cup stage often does write the future for all of us. The
World Cup is special in its significance to the world and watching this ad helps you
understand and live that. If there is one ad most closely associated with this World
Cup, it has to be the Write the Future campaign. Adidas still had a strong global
showing and for "real soccer players," Adidas remains the brand most focused on
soccer and stands to realize  Ê  Ê  from merchandising as a result of the
games. They made the uniforms and the often debated . But for Nike to grab just a
bit of the spotlight through great creative and storytelling isn't bad for a brand that
was not the official sponsor.Ê
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After the games finish and the world turns its attention to the next big sporting
event, the biggest winner from these games may very well be Brand South Africa.
The country has had an ambitious nation branding and marketing effort in place since
2002 - and one that in part led to their selection as the host nation for Africa's first
FIFA World Cup. The games have gone off perfectly and the biggest controversies to
date have been the Jabulani ball and the inconsistent officiating - both having little
to do with the host country. Using music and dance as a way into their culture,
coverage of the games online and on television were filled with African rhythms and
clearly stood out from anything else. Though the South African's didn't progress in
the tournament as far as they liked, the country invited the world to their doorstep,
brought out the vuvuzelas, did a disika dance and showed the world what Africa was
truly capable of.Ê

Amongst a World Cup filled with good and bad marketing lessons, South Africa
deserves to stand at the top of the list with pride. Good marketing helped them get
selected to host the games, and great marketing will help them inspire people to
visit and invest in their country long after the final match is played and a champion
is crowned.Ê
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