I haven’t been to Whatever USA, I didn’t see “Jurassic World” on it’s opening weekend, and, unfortunately, I won’t be attending any of this Summer’s Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well concerts. I did, however, recently have the pleasure of immersing myself in the Women’s World Cup experience in Vancouver, B.C. And I have to commend Vancouver, FIFA, and all of the corporate sponsors for making it very memorable … for me, but more importantly, for my daughter and son.
Looking to burn off some of our pre-match anticipation, our match day experience started with a visit to the Vancouver Fanzone. What a spectacle! Picture yourself in a sea of thousands of soccer fans, mostly under the age of 18, all prepping to watch their national team compete to win one of the most coveted trophies in all of sports. If you were throwing that party, what would you do? How about: get people moving. That’s exactly what the different corporate sponsors did.
Whether it was a penalty shot, defended by a laser-guided goalie, a participatory freestyle juggling clinic, or 5-minute mini games (often with parents in goal), each sponsored venue delivered entertainment value, soccer education, and got your heart pumping. It felt like a combination of a great county fair and Disneyland. And although FIFA has its issues, which I’ll leave for others to discuss and elaborate on, as a marketer I felt the branded pre-game association was extremely positive for the sponsors. Everyone was having a blast, smiles filled faces, and people were generally in a great mood.
Entering the stadium, and through the post-match festivities, that same positive mojo continued. Not because of any orchestrated experiences, like those found in the Fanzone, but because the event itself was so fantastic. For over two hours there were 52,000+ fans cheering their hearts out in support of powerful, world-class female athletes. (What a great sponsored association.) It was amazing to personally witness, and through the eyes of my daughter and son, something that I’ll remember forever. It was, in my opinion, an entertainment event that lived up to the expectations and pre-match marketing hype.
While I can’t comment on brand recall, or any longer-term marketing value for any of the event sponsors, I can say that when we returned to our hotel I was carrying a Visa-branded bag that contained a Powerade water bottle and an Adidas “Live Your Goals” t-shirt. So I’d say, that at a minimum, for my family, the game-day activation was a success for Visa, Coca-Cola, and Adidas. Go USA! #LiveYourGoals