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Which World Cup ads truly captivated global audiences?

By Marietta Chatzidiakou | Senior Content Consultant

Digital Ethos


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January 4, 2023 | 8 min read

Marietta Chatzidiakou of Digital Ethos looks at some of the best and most creative Fifa World Cup ads from 2022.

David Beckham and Peyton Manning in Lays World Cup ad

Brands like Coca-Cola and Lays prove that when it comes to sports marketing, diversity wins / @OfficialFritoLay via YouTube

2022's Fifa World Cup tournament was shrouded in controversy. Firstly, Qatar received criticism for numerous human rights violations — including its treatment of women, LGBTQ+ people, and migrant workers, ultimately leading some brands to boycott the event.

Secondly, it was held in winter to ensure that players didn’t have to play in extremely high temperatures during the summer months. This created a unique challenge for brands as they had to plan a budget not just for the World Cup, but for Christmas as well. Still, there was plenty of creativity sparked by this unique sporting event.

Coca-Cola: street party

A 60-second Coca-Cola spot was released to whet fans' appetite for the World Cup which kicked off in Qatar on November 20th. ‘Believing is Magic’ is intended to show how it feels to be a football fan by imagining the journey to victory.

Why we like this ad: This is the classic, cinematic Coca-Cola ad that does not disappoint. Using the power of images and a message that translates easily across the globe, Coca-Cola makes us dream while communicating what it stands for: pleasure. Targeting all generations and especially younger audiences with its young protagonist, it invites us to grab a Coke while enjoying the World Cup and dreaming of victory.

Key lessons: Coca-Cola proves that younger generations should be included in campaigns since they will soon turn into consumers. Cinematic ads like this one show that all you need to captivate audiences is a simple message combined with vivid imagery.

KFC: and that’s why there’s KFC delivery

One of the best parts of the World Cup is watching the games with friends and family over delicious food. KFC knows that well. Its World Cup campaign captures this, celebrating the freedom of eating at home, where we can be unapologetically ourselves.

Why we like this ad: It's simple, short, relatable, and liberating. In this ad, we see ourselves: sitting on a couch, eating, and watching the game.

Key lessons: KFC shows us that simplicity pays off. They understand the consumer, the consumer’s needs and how to shift consumer behavior. So, all it takes for a successful campaign is to find the unique point of connection with your customers, emphasize it – and celebrate it.

Frito Lays: soccer or football?

Fans around the world have been arguing about whether football or soccer is the real name of the sport for years. Frito-Lays decided to take the debate to the next level. In this ad, World Cup player David Beckham and American football legend Peyton Manning debate if the sport featured in the tournament should be called football or soccer.

Frito-Lays went one step further by introducing a social media challenge that ran on the brand's Instagram stories. Viewers could win yellow Lays when a referee pulls a yellow card and Doritos when a referee pulls a red card. For a chance to win, users had to follow Lays and Doritos on Instagram and seek links via the brands' stories.

Why we like this ad: Firstly, because we love David Beckham, and secondly, because it leverages the power of participation marketing with a social media challenge that encourages customers to interact with the brand.

Key lessons: As soccer grows in popularity across North America and remains Europe’s favorite sport, Frito Lays hoped to make the World Cup even more fun. So, if you’re targeting different areas or even continents, then you need to use symbols and terminology that different audiences can relate to.

BMB: 'Sweet Carol Rhymes'

The campaign ‘Sweet Carol Rhymes’ featuring the parody song ‘So here he is, Jordan Pickford’, aired on November 15th. The ad blends football puns and a feel-good festive hit, directing people to donate to FareShare, a charity that specializes in fighting hunger and food waste.

Why we like this ad: Festive, fun, unique and for a good cause; this ad is hard to forget as it takes advantage of a rare occasion — the World Cup being held in winter — and combines the catchiness and passion of a football chant with a cheerful, festive banger.

Key lessons: If you’re planning content that will be published during a rare event, take advantage of it and create one-of-a-kind content around it.

Modern Marketing Creative Works Social Media

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Digital Ethos

We're an integrated digital consultancy that uses the latest technology, our strategic skills, passion for data and creativity to develop industry-leading marketing campaigns that blow the competition out of the water.

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