The 2022 Fifa World Cup kicks off this Sunday in Qatar, and while the competition has been dogged by controversy, the organisers are hopeful that the focus will be on football as the tournament gets under way.
It's the first World Cup to take place during the winter months – in the northern hemisphere, anyway – and as such the build-up to this year's competition has been somewhat muted on the part of retailers and consumer goods brands.
Most are understandably more focused on the coming Christmas period, which is the first 'proper' festive season since the pandemic. As Moritz Schneider, director of the Zürich-based Mediaschneider agency told local media, “In the vast majority of cases, companies are opting for a Christmas campaign, which has proven its worth, rather than venturing into a World Cup campaign with various uncertainties."
Others have shied away from tournament-related marketing given the controversies that have dogged the build-up to the competition. Dutch retailer Jumbo notably pulled its World Cup commercial after a backlash over its depiction of dancing construction workers (deemed insensitive given the deaths of many workers on stadium sites), while Lidl stated earlier this year that it would not run adverts or promotions related to the tournament.
Effect On Grocery
The effect of the World Cup on grocery spend is likely to be "difficult to model", according to analyst Clive Black of Shore Capital, although he added that the seasonal conditions are likely to mean that many fans will forgo their local pub beer garden for at-home viewing.
"We would expect a step-up in off-trade beverage sales around big matches as well as party and gathering food; so, snacks, pizza, chicken thighs/wings, big pot dishes like chill con carne, party bread and so forth," he wrote in a recent briefing note. "And then there is booze. Ahead of a Christmas build-up, the logistics divisions of the major supermarkets and their respective supply chains can expect a right old time."
A number of retailers and brands have, however, sought to capitalise on the World Cup spirit, and with that in mind, ESM presents its starting XI of the best Qatar 2022 advertising campaigns.
Aldi, 'Feast Of Food'
Aldi UK released a Christmas-themed commercial that pays homage to the famous 1998 Nike World Cup advert, featuring ‘Kevin The Carrot’ and friends – which even finds time to include a nod to Christmas classic Home Alone.
Coca-Cola plans to publish several short films related to fans' experiences while they support their teams. In the commercial Street, released prior to the tournament, a female fan gets caught up in tournament fever after taking a sip of her favourite beverage.
Albert Heijn, 'Samen Kleuren We Oranje'
Dutch retailer Albert Heijn has released a commercial featuring a number of national team players, as well as coach Louis van Gaal, encouraging supporters to get behind the team at home.
Continente, 'Fome de Vencer'
Portuguese retailer Continente's 'Fome de Vencer' (Hunger to Win) campaign gets behind the Portuguese team with a call for unity – as Sonae marketing manager José Manuel Fortunato puts it, it's "a will to win that brings us together, something that has gained even more relevance after the last year we've been through." During the tournament, the group is also rolling out daily offers for customers through its Continente Card App.
Frito-Lay (PepsiCo) – Soccer or Football?
Two sporting legends, David Beckham and Peyton Manning, feature in Frito-Lay's World Cup short, debating whether the beautiful game should be called 'football' or 'soccer'. Directed by Michael Bay, the ad also features Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Tim Howard, Javier Hernandez and more. [PS – It's 'football']
Konzum, 'Porosni na naše'
Croatia retailer Konzum's 'Porosni na naše' (Proud of Ours) campaign shows the passion that ordinary Croatian citizens have for their national team. The retailer is an official sponsor of the Croatian football team.
Cris-sal, 'Unlucky Sponsor'
Ecuadorian salt brand Cris-sal created the Unlucky Sponsor campaign, with which the brand sought to target its opponents in the run up to the World Cup. Salt is considered to be bad luck in South America, so in an example of reverse logic, the brand wished 'good luck' to Ecuador’s opponents through the qualifying tournament.
Pepsi Max, 'Nutmeg Royale'
Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and Ronaldinho star in Pepsi Max's campaign, which sees the football icons 'nutmeg' their way around the streets of Qatar, backed by a Fatboy Slim soundtrack.
Argentinian brewery Quilmes has released a commercial, which compares 'coincidences' between 2022 and 1986, the last time Argentina won a World Cup.
LALA, 'Campaña de LALA para el Mundial de Qatar 2022'
Mexican dairy brand LALA celebrates Mexicans’ passion for football, with guest appearances from leading players.
Budweiser, 'The World Is Yours To Take'
Football megastars Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr and Raheem Sterling feature in Budweiser's official World Cup commercial, which showcases the tension – and excitement – in the tunnel before the players take to the pitch.
Let the games begin!