For brands of any size, events like the Olympics and the World Cup represent golden opportunities to raise their profile and boost sales. The planning for campaigns relating to sporting events usually begins many months in advance in order to allow time for the content to be carefully considered and for limited edition packaging to be produced and put into shops. The success of a campaign will depend on a variety of factors according to the nature of the brand being promoted.
Official sponsorship of an event is the preserve of the world's biggest brands. With sponsorship comes the right to use the official logo and the name of the event on your products' packaging. For brands that are either unable or unwilling to invest in sponsoring an event, creative ways can be found in order to associate your packaging with the event in the minds of the public. For example, Haribo put their golden bear character in a football strip on packets of their sweets during the 2010 World Cup.
McDonald's and Coca-Cola are both long standing sponsors of the World Cup. This gives them certain advantages when it comes to marketing their products. For example, McDonald's runs a Player Escort programme that gives children from all over the world the chance to walk out with their team before a match. These opportunities for direct involvement with the event can be advertised via packaging.
A more creative way of using packaging was found by South African lager brand, Castle. They introduced the world's first full aperture end can for the 2010 World Cup and branded it as a Supporter's Can. This caught attention by offering something different - the can effectively becomes a cup when the end is torn off - in a product category that people associate with watching football in the first place.
It makes sense to carefully consider whether a particular event is worth focusing on for your brand. The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was worth sponsoring for Irn Bru because of the brand's Scottish focus.
The car maker Hyundai sponsored the 2014 World Cup as part of a drive to expand into new markets. It coined the "Because Futbol" slogan for the campaign, which will be continued for its sponsorship of the increasingly popular US Major League Soccer. In this way it is using the event to build brand awareness in the US.
Major sporting events pull the world together and are often met with enthusiasm. Whether or not a product is directly associated with a spectacle such as the World Cup, it is an opportune time to position a brand in front of an audience and capture their imagination.