Marketing The World Cup To Sports Haters



Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like soccer (football). I don’t like most sports. It’s not so much a sport itself, but rather the mass-marketing and the mass-marketed-to people surrounding teamed ‘n themed sporting franchises that puts me off.

I find conversations from people engaged by mass-marketed team sports to be clichéd, hyperbolic, robotic and grossly uncreative. In other words, people talking about sports bore me to tears. Within 1-minute of someone talking about and/or watching sports I’ve pretty much left the room.

Needless to say, I’ve watched zero seconds of World Cup action thus far.

Then why would someone like me, who hasn’t watched or cared about 3-seconds of World Cup action, (almost) buy a U.S. Soccer team/franchise jersey?

Because the purchase of a U.S. Soccer jersey meant something to me. It spoke to my ego. A single picture of a customized soccer jersey fed my ego and my self-centeredness, along with my need for instant gratification.

The U.S. Soccer team jersey I almost bought was cute, in a patriotic red, white and blue. Best of all it was customized. On a mock-up photo, auto-generated on Twitter to get my attention, “my” jersey had my Twitter name (@SpaceyG) stamped across the back.

I wanted that thing. And to be mine, it was just a few more taps ‘n swipes away on my iPhone. An impulse sale was almost made in a mobile environment, something very hard to do, so it seems

Had I been feeling a little more flush, I’d have bought “my” jersey right then and there from U.S. Soccer.

Selling to a person who hates sports? In mobile?! Now how in the world did the U.S. Soccer franchise manage to engage with a person who hates sports, let alone (almost) sell them something they didn’t need or want? Three words: a compelling picture.

On their Twitter stream U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) tweeted a catchy picture of a cute pilot hanging an American flag out of the cockpit of the plane he was getting ready to pilot, the entire U.S. Soccer franchise aboard, from São Paulo to Natal, Brazil for the World Cup. 

(Whereupon the USA soccer team, upon entering the arena on Monday, June 16, is to be immediately crushed by whatever team, hardly matters, like the bug of a soccer competitor it is said to be; global satisfaction will thus ensue, as it’s only every four years the rest of the world has an opportunity to crush the United States of America like a bug. Needless to say, they can’t wait until Monday, June 16.)

But back to our tale of marketing wonder here. Always up for and intrigued by a compelling photo on Twitter, I RT-d (re-tweeted) that picture of the cute pilot with the American flag on his way to Natal, Brazil with the United States’ sacrificial soccer team. (No doubt cute pilot was grinning in anticipation of the decadence and debauchery that is Brazil hosting a World Cup tournament awaiting him upon landing his plane there.)

In a surprise move, @ussoccer replied back to my RT of their cute media with a thank-you note Tweet that included another picture, but this time the picture was of a U.S. Soccer team-style jersey, auto-generated and already stamped on the back with my Twitter name. This exact same jersey (I don’t even wear stuff like this!) could be mine on the very next, credit card-enabled screen. Just one screen tap away.

So one cute picture, a RT, a thank-you note, and another catchy customized picture later, and viola! – digital customer engagement from a market even U.S. Soccer likely never knew existed. Not until they shared their one good cell phone picture. (That single, timely and in real time, picture, perfectly fitting the moment’s news cycle, also turned-up on ABC News’ World News Tonight broadcast later the same evening. It was indeed that compelling.)

Go look it up on @usssoccer. And think about what you might want to snap for Twitter when you are out and about, too. 

Of course you will need a fancy mobile-enabled marketing campaign, ready to compel and capture credit card purchases, at the ready and behind your adorable and timely tweeted snapshot. But if you’re already a digital marketeer, you’ve no doubt figured out all the un-compelling, backend stuff by now.

Now is the right time to make frontend media your engaging entry portal on Twitter. One great, original cell phone picture which can speak to the moment might be all you need to get your biggie sales party started.

Goal on!


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