Advanced Television

System1: Brazil’s brands lift the world cup

December 15, 2022

Brazil and England have something unwanted in common this week: both nations mourn a frustrating exit from the FIFA World Cup at the Quarter-Final stage. Similar fates on the pitch, but the two countries couldn’t be more different when it comes to World Cup advertising. Brazil accounted for 8 out of the Top 10 World Cup ads on System1’s Test Your Ad platform, with one UK and one US ad making up the list.

World Cup ads have scored an average 3.9-Stars on System1’s 5-Star scale for long-term effectiveness; 1.17 Spike Rating, which measures short-term sales impact; and 90 Fluency Rating on a 100-point brand recognition scale. In comparison, this year’s Christmas ads average 4.2-Stars, 1.36 Spike Rating and 89 Fluency Rating.

“Ads building on sporting events are a big opportunity but notoriously hard to get right,” said Jon Evans, Chief Customer Officer, System1. “The World Cup, Olympics and other festivals of sport are magnets for powerful emotion – capture some of that emotion authentically and you have the opportunity for a real marketing boost. Get it wrong, though, and you can look like a bandwagon-jumper.”

Football-loving Brazil has embraced the tournament and its marketing, and provides the highest-scoring World Cup ad for Telecoms brand Vivo. Rather than making an ad set in Qatar or spend money on superstars, Vivo’s ad focuses on the excitement of kids about the World Cup as they try and master the 6-hour time difference between Brazil and Qatar. There’s a twist – initially you think the kids want to make sure they watch the game, but it turns out they’re flying out to be the Brazilian team’s mascots. It’s a charming piece of work which earns its 4.9-Star score – way ahead of other brand ads.

In second place came Globo TV, which is actually showing the games, and which landed a 4.8-Star score for a straightforward ad touching on all the spectacular memories of tournaments past. A montage of the Seleção’s trophy-winning moments makes the ad end on a real high.

The third-place ad for Brahma beer, which scored 4.4-Stars, has a heap of strong branding but not a football in sight – it tells the story of a beer cart with a mind of its own, driving around spreading drink and good cheer to thirsty football fans. Their beer cart ad keeps the action away from the game itself but captures the joy and friendship around supporting the team. 

In contrast, the UK and US only managed one 4-Star ad each. For the UK, the top-scoring World Cup ad was a 4.1-Star effort from media brand Bleacher Reports for its BR Football service. The imaginative ad showed models of top stars coming to life, but didn’t do much to sell – or even show – the brand, making it something of a wasted opportunity. In the US, though, Frito-Lay scored 4.4-Stars with a fine effort, showing David Beckham arguing about whether the beautiful game is called football or soccer. It’s a tongue-in-cheek ad which may not do much to resolve the “classic debate” but shows that US brands have learned how to make excellent World Cup ads.

Overall, though, the US and UK ads are an underwhelming selection for a major international tournament. With the World Cup this year potentially divisive, it’s no surprise English-speaking brands have taken this less full-on route. But they should look across to South America for inspiration.

“The successful Brazilian ads show there’s still plenty of emotional mileage in big sports events, provided you can find an angle which captures the joy of supporting and watching the team as well as the action on the field,” added Evans.

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