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FIFA World Cup: Are brands ready for the multiscreen consumer

As millions of consumers tune in to 2014 FIFA World Cup, it is becoming evident that media consumption patterns are evolving drastically. The World Cup is set to become the most mobile and social event ever, owing to the technological developments that enable fans to interact with the games, footballers and brands in new ways. For brands, this means as many challenges, as it means opportunities.

Omnicom Media Group’s agencies OMD and PHD set out to understand the changing consumer behaviours and attitudes to the World Cup, drawing on a number of research sources including media usage data, social monitoring and pre- and post- snapshots research covering topics such as spontaneous and prompted brand awareness, shifts in brand perceptions due to sponsorship recall and brand fit, the use of social networks, the mobility of interaction and content creation. The research attempts to provide understanding of the behaviour not just of World Cup viewers but also of consumers today, and the effect that sponsorship can have on brand-consumer relationships.

A notable insight to come out of the research is the multiple platforms consumers intend to use to interact with the event. While TV is still king, with 95 per cent of APAC respondents saying that they will watch matches live broadcasted on TV, 47 per cent of respondents intending to interact with it on the go. Multi-screening, or using another device while watching the World Cup, is evidently on the rise with 80 per cent of respondents planning on using their mobile phones while following the game, and another 56 per cent using their tablets.

Also highly relevant for brands is that the World Cup seems to attract audiences beyond everyday football fanatics, with 40 per cent saying they are more likely to follow the game in order to experience a big international event and another 42 per cent citing their motivation as keeping up with a major event.

The research included an Omnicom Media Group Snapshots quantitative online survey of 3,515 adults across 17 markets, an Omnicom Media Group Sonar study where two Brazilian Trendspotters in Rio and Sao Paolo analysed Brazilian interaction with the event, interviews with social media experts to understand how people and brands use social media to interact with the event, and an Omnicom Media Group social listening project in 10 languages to gather continuous information on how people interact with the event online, as well as what they are talking about.

Tyson Henly, Head of International Football at OMD and PHD’s specialist agency Fuse Sport+ Entertainment commented, “We are seeing exceptional levels of consumer interest in the FIFA World Cup, evolving from a passive audience (TV-focused only) into an audience that wants to engage and communicate around the event (75.5 per cent are ‘highly interested in the event’, while 56 per cent said that they are likely to post a comment on a social network). This will challenge brands who want to optimise their association and complement their traditional sponsorship approach with the provision of ‘valued content’; that is, content that provides entertainment, knowledge or information to these newly engaged consumers. This content, combined with the way technology is harnessed, will become an increasing priority for a brand’s activation plans.”

“This is the first truly multi-platform World Cup, giving brands the opportunity to engage with passionate football fans across multiple touch points. Even before the first match kicked off, there were already high levels of awareness and perceived brand fit with the World Cup in Asia for sponsors such as McDonald’s, Visa and Johnson & Johnson,” added Guy Hearn, Chief Innovation Officer at Omnicom Media Group APAC.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.