The 2014 FIFA World Cup, which some predict will be the biggest social media sporting event of all time, had its U.S. kickoff today and it didn’t disappoint. An exciting game, with a dramatic 2-1 U.S. victory over Ghana, it generated 4.9 million tweets according to Twitter’s data.
So how did the real-time marketers do? Surprisingly, there was less action than I had expected. Perhaps that’s because soccer is still considered a niche sport in the United States, or perhaps most brand managers were sitting back and nervously watching the game, but there wasn’t much in-the-moment commentary from brands or businesses. No one who tried came anywhere close to hitting an Arby’s-at-the-Grammy’s jackpot.
When brands did chime in, it was mostly words of encouragement for the U.S. team, like this from Sierra Nevada beer:
Come on, USA – let’s DO this. #USAvsGhana #GHAUSA #WorldCup
— Sierra Nevada Beer (@SierraNevada) June 16, 2014
DiGiorno Pizza, a regular on the newsjacking circuit, joined in several times with tweets that seemed, shall we say, pre-baked:
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS BUT I GET SAD WHEN THE PIZZA IS ALL GHANA hahahahahahahaha my world cup commentary is second to none #USAvsGhana — DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) June 16, 2014
Pizza for dinner is never a “FLOP” hahahaha looking at you Gyan #USAvsGhana — DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) June 16, 2014
At least, fast food chain Whataburger appeared to be watching the game, sending a timely tweet immediately after John Brooks scored the tiebreaking goal late:
That USA goal got me up out of my seat. Like when someone suggests Whataburger #WorldCup
— Whataburger® (@Whataburger) June 16, 2014
Humor and sports blog KorkedBats.com, reacting to U.S. forward Clint Dempsey getting kicked in the nose, also scored:
You guys, Clint Dempsey’s nose doesn’t look so good. pic.twitter.com/XLQJDK1c1S
— KorkedBats.com (@korkedbats) June 16, 2014
College Town Life, a user generated guide to campus lifestyle, was following closely:
If you don’t have chills right now you don’t have a pulse #WorldCup #IBelieveThatWeWillWin #WorldCup2014 #USMNT
— CollegeTownLife (@CollegeTownLife) June 16, 2014
HBO’s Game of Thrones took the opportunity for a little trash talk about the series finale’s search advantage over the soccer match:
According to #GoogleTrends, USA search volume for GoT was 20x higher than for the #USAvGha #WorldCup match. @google pic.twitter.com/OiXrSdEock
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) June 16, 2014
Then there was Victoria’s Secret, which authored : “This game [face screaming in fear emoji] hope you’re all wearing your lucky panties!! #WorldCup #USAvsGhana”
And considering the game’s finish, perhaps that’s the kind of luck the U.S. needed.
What do you think? Are these efforts worth the marketing effort? Did I miss any attempts that hit the mark or fell flat?
Postscript: After the game, the Twitter account of Delta airlines flubbed a congratulatory tweet, by including a picture of a giraffe to represent Ghana, next to a photo of the Statue of Liberty (see screen grab below). The trouble is giraffes aren’t typically found in Ghana. After receiving many complaints, Delta deleted the tweet and apologized.
Postscript II: This post was updated to adjust the total number of tweets about the U.S.-Ghana match.