There is no doubt that a Football World Cup year is not a typical year. Even at the office, we purchased a paid TV plan to watch it! Of course. How could we possibly concentrate on work without knowing if Cristiano or Lio shone as the best? Or which team would get to play in the final against the local and five-time champion, Brazil? Well, this time the reality was not what we expected...
Obviously, if everybody changed their agenda to allocate a significant amount of time to watch soccer matches, comment upon them and, maybe, buy a Brazuca or a new TV set, then brands would get ready to adapt to the consumers' interests, to be present in the matches and to be part, one way or another, of the World Cup dynamic. So, they would change their media plan, their advertising creativity, the contents of their promotions and anything else that could be appropriate to the circumstances. (Without specific data, I'm guessing that those brands that appeared in the T-shirts worn by Memo Ochoa or Keylor Navas benefited from the exposure and the positive feelings these two goalkeepers created in those who watched them).
But what happened in Peru?
Undoubtedly, there were many local and transnational companies that planned activities for this event. Some of them reduced their advertising campaign in the previous months and saved their budget for that glorious June. Others even launched new brands. There were some that included among their messages ideas related to the World Cup or promotions related to trips to be there.
But I wonder if they obtained the expected returns; I wonder if the Peruvian consumer, whose team didn't take part in the World Cup, responded in the way brands expected them to.
The general impression (which could have also been influenced by a certain economic slowdown during this period) is that the consumer responded only tepidly to the huge number of promotions and World Cup messages of the period. Although prizes were delivered and some had the joy of attending a match courtesy of a brand, it seems that no brand managed to build equity during this period.
Could it be the promotional emphasis and the short-term focus? Maybe the lack of relevant content? Perhaps it’s the local disappointment of not being in the final stage of a World Cup for so many years? Or perhaps it’s that a World Cup doesn't represent a true business opportunity for a country that has not qualified.
Maybe, we should look for a different reason. Could it be that this is a society in which, although many are influenced by price promotions and disbursement levels, people have developed a strong connection to some brands and not even a World Cup would modify their habits?
However, the question about the opportunities created by a sports event of such magnitude is still open, and it seems that they require a different brand involvement. Of course, at a global level, there are apparently no doubts about the financial return provided by the companies that take part in sports events such as this. Therefore, the problem appears to be reduced to those countries that don't go to the finals, or to the brands that don't get deeply involved in the process.
It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Consumers nowadays choose brands that declare their values and act accordingly. Thus, let's hope the next World Cup has Peru among the 32 and that we have brands that are perceived to be contributors to such an achievement.
Managing Director, Millward Brown Perú