Zurich, March 9, 2023 – The FIFA Football World Cup is the world’s biggest sporting event,  and now Webrepublic is taking the reins with the digital marketing for this major competition for the second time in a row. What to expect? A shining example of state-of-the-art sponsorship, thanks to innovation and peerless quality. The agency will manage these exceptionally complex communication initiatives from its base in Zurich, Switzerland – and share them with the world.

With 3.4 million spectators on the ground and millions more around the globe, the World Cup is the world’s biggest sporting event. On its own, the stunning final between Argentina and France in December 2022 was watched by 1.5 billion fans. The competition is unique on a sporting level, that’s for sure – but it also offers sponsors a peerless opportunity to showcase themselves to the world. And nobody knows how to do this better than Webrepublic. The Qatar World Cup marked the second time that this Zurich-based agency handled FIFA’s communication initiatives relating to the international competition. Working in collaboration with the World Cup’s ten biggest sponsors, two dozen marketers and sports-lovers at Webrepublic launched and managed sixty global campaigns over the course of five jam-packed weeks. With 2.5 billion impressions and 700 million commercial video views, the campaigns managed by Webrepublic really did score big. To give you a sense of scale: during the week of the 2022 Superbowl, the NFL’s social media channels generated 1.8 billion impressions and a little over 600 million video views.

“Our team developed the campaigns before rolling them out globally and optimizing them in real time – these are key ingredients in brands’ recipes for success,” says Tom Hanan, founder and CEO of Webrepublic. “This was only possible because we have specialists in-house with expertise in every single area of digital marketing: they have extensive technical know-how and can speak ten different languages, to boot.” 

A new era in sponsorship and performance marketing

RAWR, Webrepublic’s specialist team for sponsorship and sports marketing, believes that a new era of sponsorship has begun. Brands have become more discerning and want to get closer to fans – the traditional approaches of logo exposure and awareness during an event just aren’t enough on their own, and they’re not a modern option, either. 

That’s why Webrepublic is opting for a new strategy, one that brings together sponsorship and performance marketing. This calls for holistic communication strategies on every channel, regardless of time or place. “It’s no longer about generating as many impressions as possible. Our role is to optimize every campaign so it reaches more complex targets, be it in terms of engagements, website visits or conversions, and to wrap this all up in exciting storytelling,” says Alexander Riggers, Head of Growth & Innovation at RAWR.

Highlights from the marketing campaigns for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

These three campaigns show how integrating sponsorship and performance marketing works in practice:

Hyundai used the attention generated by the World Cup to do its bit to support sustainability. As part of this campaign, Webrepublic developed a gamified application to reveal fans’ environmental impact, nudge them to take direct action and encourage them to interact with the brand. The campaign generated seven times more exposure than expected. Fans engaged with it on an impressive scale, sharing videos and photos on social media of them putting their sustainable promises into action – and demonstrating their support for this message.

Webrepublic used sponsored content to garner engagement from football fans on behalf of Crypto.com. Firstly, film material from the FIFA archive was used to generate a wide-ranging awareness of the brand. Then, fans had the chance to play games in the Crypto Playzone and have their winnings paid out in Bitcoin. This performance campaign for a prize competition also boosted the download figures for the Crypto app. 

Alongside gamification, festivalization is another trend impacting events like the World Cup: to create an awareness of FIFA Fan Festivals in the cities where they were being held, Webrepublic activated more than 90 creative elements in the FIFA+ inventory, on social media and in Google search ads. This also served to direct traffic to registration/ticket pages. The result: festivals took place in 8 cities around the world, with the Doha festival alone attracting 1.8 million visitors.