2014 World Cup: Social Media Campaign Round-Up

The 2014 World Cup was host to countless ad campaigns, and record breaking social media statistics. Here are some of the brands that created tons of social media buzz during the month-long tournament:


Adidas has been crowned as the ‘most talked about‘ brand connected to the 2014 World Cup, generating 1.59 million conversations across Twitter, Facebook, blogs and Tumblr. Adidas’ all in or nothing campaign truly captured the intense emotions of the tournament, and racked up 917,000 mentions on Twitter with #allin or nothing.

“The Dream,” the campaign’s most recognizable video featuring the world’s greatest player, Leonel Messi, earned 36 million views on Youtube (Forbes).

Adidas reported 5.8 million new followers across all of its major social media platforms during the tournament. The brand’s @adidasfootball account – known for its images of the stadiums, locker rooms and tunnels just before the game – became a fan favorite. Adidas also created a Twitter account for Brazuca (@brazuca), the tournament’s official match ball, which was the largest growing account on Twitter during the tournament with 2.98 million followers. The handle also saw 53,000 interactions throughout the World Cup – making it one of the most engaged on Twitter.

Adidas’ “The Dugout,” a series of interactive videos and interviews on YouTube, proved to be popular amongst fans as well, featuring various soccer greats including Brazil’s Kaka and Cafu, and former English soccer player David Beckham.

Adidas concluded its #Allin campaign with a video titled “The Final” in anticipation for the tournament’s championship match between Germany and Argentina. The video has over 18 million views.


The Nike soccer twitter account, @nikefootball, received more than 2.3 million followers, and its #RiskEverything campaign, made up of three videos – The Last Game, Winner Stays, and Men in the Arena – mustered up 400 million online views (Women’s Wear Daily).

There have also been 22 million campaign interactions on Facebook including likes, comments and shares, and #RiskEverything has been used 650,000 times on Twitter.

An animated version of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a Swedish soccer player who appeared on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” throughout the tournament, is also part of the Risk Everything campaign. The #AskZlatan interactive campaign earned over 10.5 million digital views.

Nike also teamed up with Google to create eight different realtime mobile ads in 15 different countries during the World Cup. The ads, which were released on Google’s Display Network, included unique 3D technology that allowed mobile users to rotate their devices to see images at different angles, as well as add different filters and headlines. The eight advertisements generated two million interactions across 200 different countries (Wall Street Journal).

McDonald's Player Escort Program allowed children to walk out onto the field hand-in-hand with the world's greatest players.
McDonald’s Player Escort Program allowed children to walk out onto the field hand-in-hand with the world’s greatest players.


McDonald’s proved to be very busy during the month-long tournament, campaigning for the World Cup on the field, on mobile devices, and in the restaurant.

On the field, the McDonald’s Player Escort Program  gave 1,408 children, from countries all over the world, the opportunity to walk out onto the field hand-in-hand with players at the beginning of all 64 matches. Each child was sporting red and gold colored jerseys.

Alongside their “Trick-shot” video, which received over 6 million views online, McDonald’s launched their “Gol” campaign. Centered around the campaign was a gaming app that allowed customers to use one of McDonald’s twelve newly designed french-fry boxes as a virtual goal.

McDonald’s also introduced FryFutbol on YouTube, featuring re-enactments of key moments from every match of the tournament — using only french fries.


Though VW did not receive as much attention as Nike, Adidas and McDonald’s during the 2014 World Cup, their series of realtime “Goooooooolf Celebration Videos” deserve an “A+”- at least in the creativity department.

After each team scored, VW released a video featuring a Golf GTI painted in the team’s colors, jetting across the field. Yet, instead of screaming the highly popular soccer celebration: “Goooaaal”, the announcer hollers out: “Gooooooolf”. Each of the 32 teams participating had nine different variations of the video, which rotated as they scored.

The videos ran alongside live-streamed matches on ESPN.com, as well as on ESPNFC.com and Univision.com (Clickz). The videos were also posted on VW’s twitter account, @VW.

What was your favorite World Cup social media campaign?


  1. Hi Adam. Curious your thoughts on the performance of these campaigns. Considering in my estimate 2.5 bil people chatted up the cup offline and that every news org in the world covered it….and my guess is 1bil + watched games at different time so few actually watched or engaged with branded content. My guess is the VW spot cost way more than the return they got (170k views) . Historically most branded content online was usually then shown on TV as commercials where they had their greatest impact.

    Adidas which you highlighted has potentially 2-3bil customers. And conversations aren’t uniques. So even if all those actions were done by just 1 person then you have almost no one talking about Adidas. Divide the number of actions by 2-3bil and you get my point. And the fact that the world cup was 28 days…..you get even worse performance.

    I know the social media evangelists and cmos hate CFO types like me but this is how we grade these things. More telling is that Coke abandoned its Facebook Page with 84 million fans only posting I think 8 times this year so far. Watch in 2015 for Brands to start shifting from social media back to traditional because for a big brand you need to reach 10’s 100’s of millions and yes even billions of people. And you can’t with social media.

  2. Hey @HowieG – thx for your comments. Not sure you’re really comparing apples and oranges, though, and I’m not sure I follow your logic completely. What do you mean when you say “conversations aren’t uniques”? You can’t take “1.59 conversations” and compare them to a traditional audience metric — you need a lot more data to measure how large the actual audience was. Yes, there may be multiple conversations per fan, but there are also multiple people who “view” each of those conversations — that’s why it’s apples and oranges to compare these stats to traditional media metrics.

    I’m all for skepticism when it comes to social media ROI discussions. At the end of the day, the only metrics that really matter is if the money invested drove sales, revenues, or profitability.


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