Earned Media Winners at the 2010 World Cup

Social marketing has unleashed a number of new avenues and terms for marketers.  Today, many marketers talk about “owned” versus “earned” media.  An editorial piece that recently appeared in AdWeek titled “The Shrinking Pie” provides an excellent explanation of the differences between owned and earned media.  The article references Nike’s “Write the Future” spot for the FIFA World Cup, which has amassed buzz and an incredible amount of earned media virally via YouTube.  Nike paid a handsome price to produce the three-minute video; however, clever creative and state-of-the-art production facilities aren’t always necessary to garner earned media.  Take, for instance, Bavaria Beer.

The executives at Bavaria Beer are gamblers, and they won big this year at the FIFA World Cup.  They must have known that there would be consequences to their “ambush” actions, but they bet that the resulting publicity would outweigh any fines or penalties they would likely be assessed, and they were correct.

Bavaria Beer hired 36 women to enter the Netherlands vs. Denmark game on June 14 as fans of Denmark.  Early in the match, the women took off their red and white clothes to reveal orange “dutchy” dresses underneath.  They captured the attention of the television cameras, and garnered lots of exposure, which is what they set out to do.  What happened next catapulted the brand even more than the executives could have imagined.  The women were escorted out of the stadium during the second half of the match and subsequently arrested for breaking South Africa’s merchandising laws (Budweiser is the official beer sponsor of the FIFA World Cup).  The actions of the authorities were caught on video cameras and posted to various news and YouTube sites.  One report estimated readership and viewership of the “stunt” at 26 million.  Bavaria Beer’s ambush marketing effort together with the arrest of the women gave the brand more exposure than the company could have ever projected, and coverage of the stunt will no doubt live on.  Videos will continue to be played and shared for months to come.

That’s the beauty of digital and social media efforts.  Their presence exists long after media dollars have dried up.  At Kilgannon, we develop creative ways to draw attention to a brand as part of an integrated marketing effort. This week, in fact, we are firming up details to have street teams descend upon several events en masse next month to build buzz surrounding the launch of a client campaign.  Although our effort likely won’t be seen on the world stage, I’m willing to bet that we’ll generate a great deal of earned media for our client among those engaged in the category.

— Debbie Dryden, VP, Thought Leadership


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