They think it's all over...

football marketing and public relations campaignsWith the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia kicking off just last week and the England team gearing up for their first match against Tunisia tonight, many companies are looking to catch the attention of the 3.2 billion viewers across the globe. But, which brands are taking home the trophy, and which are scoring a metaphorical own goal in the battle for attention?

Jade Ziola-Sammons, senior account executive and football fanatic

Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle joined fellow penalty failure, and current England manager, Gareth Southgate in a paper-bag wearing Pizza Hut campaign following Euro 1996. Whereas Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne teamed up with Walkers to mock Gazza’s infamous crying scene as England bowed out of Italia ’90. Now, with Russia 2018 underway, plenty of brands are already looking to capitalise on the global attention.

Coca Cola ‘Being Ready’ campaign
Launching in 200 countries and featuring four films carrying the ‘Being Ready’ message, the soft drinks giant has opted to use fictional football character, Alex Hunter, as the face of their campaign. The company is also launching a series of special edition cans, sporting the numbers zero to nine in the hope that fans will share score predictions or results across social media.

Using a completely fictional animated character to front a multi-national campaign is a clever move from Coca Cola, as it avoids showing affiliation with a particular World Cup team. For the international brand, this supports the world-wide loved game with an inclusive campaign.

Auto Trader #AutoTraderGoals campaign
The UK’s largest online market for new and used cars has launched its “biggest brand promotion to date” with its #AutoTraderGoals campaign. Kicking off across print, radio, online, social and a dedicated partnership with online platform, UNILAD, the campaign is fronted by former England player, John Barnes.

Social media users are being encouraged to share updates using the dedicated hashtag after every goal scored by England. Auto Trader will be selecting a winner at random to win new cars after each match, including a Jeep Renegade and Alpha Mito.

In a campaign that is somewhat completely reliant on England’s ability to put the ball in the net, the jury is still out as to the traction this campaign will bring between now and July 15.

Mastercard ‘Start Something Priceless’ campaign
In recent weeks, Mastercard has been heavily criticised for its Lionel Messi and Neymar social media campaign. While not directly linked to the World Cup, as Mastercard isn’t an official sponsor, the finance corporation has pledged to deliver 10,000 meals to fight childhood hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean every time Messi or Neymar score a goal.

Many online critics, including BBC broadcaster Jake Humphrey, claimed that if the organisation has the funds to donate the food, shouldn’t they just do it anyway, regardless of how goal hungry Messi and Neymar are?

The organisation claims that the campaign is just a small part of its “overall global commitment to deliver 100 million meals to those in need of food assistance.” However, many still claim it’s an own goal on the money corps behalf.

Here’s hoping that the England stars of 2018 aren’t caught up in any post-Russia 2018 penalty failure marketing campaigns. No-one needs to see Harry Kane crying into an ironically placed product on screen.

If you need a team of trophy winning PR masterminds, we’re here, ready to help you score the winning goal in your industry’s press. Call us on +44(0)1785 225416 or email

Jade Ziola-Sammons

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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