Brands who were successful during the 2018 FIFA World Cup

Whilst England’s bid to reach the World Cup final for the first time since 1966 has fallen short, there have …

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Alexis Pratsides


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Whilst England’s bid to reach the World Cup final for the first time since 1966 has fallen short, there have been some incredible achievements from the tournament – on and off the pitch. We thought it’d be good to look back at some of the most effective marketing campaigns targeted at supporters worldwide.

Towards the start of the World Cup, we wrote about the various ways brands can leverage digital marketing during the World Cup to differentiate themselves. 3 tips we gave were to:

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Engage with your audience
  3. Run social media competitions or rewards programs

Now that the games and campaigns are wrapping up, let’s look back and see which brands successfully executed their marketing campaigns for the 2018 World Cup.

Marks and Spencer

Having supplied the official suits for the England football team since 2007, Marks and Spencer still have something to cheer about, considering England’s campaign exit at the hands of Croatia on Wednesday.

The infamous ‘lucky’ waistcoat from M&S which England manager Gareth Southgate has worn throughout the World Cup campaign has seen a 35% increase in demand for waistcoats. In what has been described as ‘the Gareth Southgate effect’, the unity that has been evident this tournament for the country lifted national spirits and trust, with the manager being at the forefront of England’s performance.

M&S have been quick to respond to the suddenly waistcoat-loving England fans, and have been updating their social media accounts with posts relevant to their official FA waistcoat. After England’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Sweden in the quarter-finals, M&S posted on Instagram mentioning the waistcoat, which has gained over 20,000 likes.

J Walter Thompson

A powerful poster campaign titled ‘The Not-So-Beautiful Game’, which highlighted the link between football and domestic violence was created by J Walter Thompson London, to raise awareness for the increasing incidences of domestic violence as the World Cup approaches its final stage.

One image showcases a woman’s face with blood running from her nose, forming the St George’s flag across her face. Other examples of this campaign feature the blood forming different World Cup team’s flags, such as France, Japan and Belgium.

The advert has captured the imagination far beyond the original ad with social shares and mentions increasing over the tournament. The shocking statistics mentioned in the ad come from a study from Lancaster University in 2013, which found that when England won or drew, domestic abuse rose by 26%, whilst a loss for England increased this figure to a staggering 38%. ‘Keep friends safe’ has been a recurring theme on social networks during the World Cup prompted by this campaign.


The mobile carrier Three UK have been keeping updated with the World Cup tournament by showcasing three lion emojis on a handful of their stores, including London Islington and Manchester Arndale.

Without having an official partnership with the England team, Three have managed to connect with the nation’s football fans, through the similarities between the brand and the England team’s nickname, the ‘Three Lions’.

The dramatic semi-final upset has caused Three to update their stores with three crying lion emojis, and they tweeted to show their gratitude to the England manager Gareth Southgate.


Domino’s pizza, who consider themselves the ‘Official Food Of Everything’, decided to utilise social media to remind fans how their products are the perfect treat to eat while watching a game.  Though many fans do choose to go to a pub and watch the game, Domino’s twitter account is targeting the fans who would rather enjoy a quieter setting at home. Using the hashtag #OfficialFoodOf, they used these images to interact with England fans through social media and remind them that Domino’s is the ‘Official food of’ watching the World Cup from home.


With their ‘Light Up the FIFA World Cup’ slogan, the World Cup sponsor decided to make a global campaign that went beyond one country. The video they created for the campaign shows drones dropping off bottles of Budweiser to locations all over the world. This campaign goes beyond understanding and engaging a singular audience. The message is that even though there are millions of people watching and rooting for different teams, fans are all united by their love of the game.

British Airways

One brand that got very invested in the game was British Airways. The airline was convinced England would win. On their Twitter, they posted an image of a plane ticket where the passenger, “Football” would be returning home from Moscow. BA used social media to build excitement and support for England as they entered the quarter finals versus Croatia.

With England’s chances of reaching the World Cup final on hold until 2022 (hopefully), some brands have managed to leverage their customer-relations and awareness throughout the tournament. With the World Cup final this Sunday, the football craze will slowly disappear, and we will anticipate how businesses will use the next football tournament, Euro 2020, to strengthen their brands through football-related marketing campaigns.

Created by

Alexis Pratsides

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