As FIFA World Cup Brazil comes to an end this weekend, so, too, does Visa’s second sponsorship of the worldwide event. The financial giant’s personal win? Its accompanying multimedia campaign--an extension of its “Everywhere You Want To Be” platform--has scored as the company’s most social, said Visa CMO Kevin Burke, in an exclusive interview with CMO.com.
In fact, the Visa World Cup campaign received nearly 100 million interactions on social media (likes, shares, comments), more than 75 million video views, and more than 1.4 billion digital impressions thus far.
Burke provided CMO.com with an inside look at the campaign, including its objectives, the planning process, specific elements, and KPIs.
According to Burke, Visa’s World Cup strategy can be viewed through four lenses: to build its brand; to drive its business of accelerating the electronification of cash to check; to support its clients in what they need to do (customer acquisition, branding, etc.); and to showcase payment technology.
“[That is why] we have dedicated a significant portion of overall marketing resources to the World Cup campaign,” Burke told CMO.com. Burke would not give specifics on money spent.
Visa has been preparing for this year’s World Cup since the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Burke estimated that about 800 people have been involved in the 2014 campaign, both from within Visa as well as its partners. Officially, the campaign launched globally on June 3, but Visa began activations in some areas even earlier.
“We look at individual markets and their affinity to that sponsorship,” Burke said. “In markets like Latin America, where there’s a very high affinity to football, particularly for this one because it was in that part of the world, we started activating with clients and markets very early on--I’d say over a year ago. Also in parts of the world like Japan and Australia, where there is also a strong affinity, we activated earlier.”
Campaign Nitty Gritty
While some football aficionados made their way to the game in Brazil, the majority of the world watched it from their homes. With “Everywhere You Want To Be,” Visa set out to make them feel as if they were there, Burke said. The campaign consisted of television commercials and digital activations.
One interesting element of the campaign, Burke pointed out, has been “Samba Of The World.” The company enlisted the help of 32 global filmmakers, one from each of the qualifying countries in the World Cup. They created their own 90-second film, using the same format and music track, to show how their countries were celebrating the World Cup. Fans have been able to view and share these films via an interactive video player on Visa’s site.
“It’s really relevant locally,” Burke said. “It’s basically a 32-chapter story that underscores that we are all different in who we are and where we are from in the world, but we are united in our passion of celebrating football.”
“Visa Fanbassadors” has been another unique aspect of the campaign, Burke said. Visa assembled a group of 11 cultural thought leaders and football content creators in World Cup-passionate countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and the U.K. These individuals were flown to the event in Brazil, where their job was to capture and curate fans’ most defining moments through video and photo content. Fans were able to view and share this content via Facebook and Twitter.
Here is an example of the type of content that was produced:
Also part of the effort to make fans feel like they were at the World Cup: “Visa Teletransporter,” which let soccer enthusiasts “transport” themselves into the center of FIFA-inspired events via a microsite where they could insert their images into FIFA scenes. They could also share these creations on their social networks.
Additionally, Visa released a free FIFA World Cup-themed educational video game to teach the fundamentals of personal finance to students and adults around the globe. Coupled with a companion classroom curriculum, the online game has been translated into more than a dozen languages in 30 countries. The game has been played more than 3 million times to date.
Another aspect of the campaign has focused on rivalry. “United in Rivalry” depicts some of the world’s most prominent champions of peace--Nobel Peace Laureates revealing their true competitive colors as they recall their favorite World Cup memories and discuss their countries’ football rivals. The TV spot explored the power of football to unite the world--in rivalry--for the five weeks of the FIFA World Cup.
Visa’s approach to measurement, which it calls “Metrics That Matter,” is based on what it has learned since becoming a World Cup Sponsor seven years ago.
“We have a set of metrics that measure brand strength and a separate set for measuring how World Cup drives business for us,” Burke told CMO.com. “We have a set of metrics for measuring how we’ve strengthened ties with clients, and we’re also looking at how well we drive awareness for our payment technologies.”
With social media playing such a huge role in this campaign, Burke said, Visa has been paying special attention to engagement rates, how many customers have engaged with Visa content, and how many have shared it after they’ve viewed it. Surprisingly, Burke noted, the 2014 World Cup received more fan engagement in the United States than ever before.
Additionally, the company has been optimizing its campaign based on real-time metrics, such as media impressions, to see which channels and content are driving purchase behavior. A Visa task force has met every morning to talk about all marketing activations at World Cup, but, Burke said, social media stats have taken the spotlight.
“We really have done an extraordinary job--especially with the social activations,” Burke said. “We’ve reached people in a meaningful way. And that’s really because we follow where our consumers go. We have been following—throughout the World Cup—where consumers are going and where we have seen the highest engagement rates. We’ve shifted resources and optimized in real time.”
With the 2014 FIFA World Cup over now, Visa is already in talks with FIFA and well into its plans for 2018, Burke said.
“Really the World Cup, for us, is about those four dimensions [we already discussed],” Burke said. “The marketing we did this year is helping us achieve those goals.”