Connecting with a Global Audience: Best FIFA World Cup Commercials


For me, American football is my game of choice. I love watching the games all the way up to the Super Bowl. However, it’s been pretty clear these past few weeks that soccer, the other football, is definitely more popular when you look at it on a grander scale. It’s a world sport. For global advertisers like FIFA World Cup Partners, McDonalds and Coca-Cola, it’s a really important event. There are more eyes watching these games then any other event worldwide. Hence the significance of connecting with a global audience.

Just like during the Super Bowl, there have been very creative advertising promotions surrounding the World Cup. It’s estimated that there are about a billion people watching the games. Big advertisers have to step up to the plate to catch the attention and connect with football fans around the world.

We are used to seeing famous players in these ads but this year McDonald’s created a commercial that I just loved. It doesn’t have anyone overly famous in it. Most of the people in the video are unknown. It shows people in their local environment showing off their soccer skills. To make it even better these people are children, seniors and women in high heels doing soccer tricks. It was made in conjunction with their current french fry peel off game. They are using it as a way to attract attention to the game. Surprisingly they didn’t need to show images of the actual product. For me, watching these soccer tricks is pure entertainment. Have a look. It somewhat reminds me of the Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird commercial from way back when.

Coca-Cola took the more inspirational route. They wanted to show how the World Cup brings people together. And what’s always there when people come together? Coke. With the tagline “Everybody’s invited.” they have created a short story showing how people in eastern countries overcame hardships through the game of soccer and eventually made it to the World Cup. It’s a heartwarming commercial and it’s full of pride; all the right feelings to connect with a global audience.

Both of these commercials can teach us lessons for our own branding and ad campaigns. It’s about making a real connection with your audience. These companies were able to take one common thing and use it to relate to their brand. Find out the one thing your audience has in common and use it to connect to a broader crowd. Read my previous post, Super Bowl Advertising: You Don’t Need a Commercial Just Some Creativity, for more ideas.

Did these commercials make an impression on you? …even if you don’t watch soccer? Do you feel that McDonald’s and Coca-Cola were successful in connecting with a global audience in these two commercials? What angle would you take when wanting to connect with a global audience?

58 thoughts on “Connecting with a Global Audience: Best FIFA World Cup Commercials

  1. Yes, I think McDonald’s and Coca-Cola were successful in connecting with a global audience in these two commercials. Not everyone is fortunate to have a lot of money, and showing people who live in hard times is relevant to today’s suffering economy.

    The angle I’d take when wanting to connect with a global audience is to find commonality found amongst all people, regardless of where they live, and speak to that. I tried doing that with my first book, Risky Issues (now published!), by structuring my short stories around the issues of identity, abuse, drugs, death and friendship — all issues faced by people everywhere.
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  2. Arleen, both of these commercials would have to connect globally: they show everyday people, with their everyday hopes in the videos. And whether they put the soccer ball on someone’s back or bounce it up and down on platform heels, you relate to it.

    I’m noodling around your question, “What angle would you take when wanting to connect with a global audience?” It’s what I try to do and now seeing the videos will try to do better. Not sure how yet.
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  3. Both commercials are excellent examples of connecting globally. Any time we can show everyday people, in many walks of life garners a positive reaction. It really get down to relating to each other, doesn’t it?

    Your question is a good one. My “angle” has been to connect with my audience on everyday life and things we learn as we go. Still it makes me think, what else could I do to relate to more who visit my site. 🙂
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  4. Wonderful examples! I particularly loved the looked so extemporaneous and I loved the expressions on their faces as they pulled their tricks! The second is indeed full of pride and had me feeling the same…that’s the point right? There is indeed something to think about here… how to connect globally and it would seem that emotions have so much to do with that.
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  5. Maybe I’m the wrong person to ask – I don’t like the violence associated with soccer, and I *really* don’t like the imposition of the companies of Coca Cola and McDonalds upon the cultures of the world, who ate much healthier when eating local cuisine. That said, the one by Coca Cola is cute and “feel goodish.” I will leave it at that.
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    • Leora- I am not supporting what these two companies serve as I don’t eat at McDonald’s or drink Coca Cola, but they do have a large following so marketing and advertising is their forte. I get a fell good feeling when I watch the Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale horses. When a commercial makes you feel good you do remember it. I think it is also the case in business.
      Arleen recently posted…Connecting with a Global Audience: Best FIFA World Cup CommercialsMy Profile

  6. I watched three games and totally loved the commercials. I watch big events on TV only for the commericals 🙂 Like the Emmy’s, Grammy’s and Academy Awards and the Super Bowl, of course. I love to analyze how brands utilize television to bring their message to millions. The McDonald’s commercial was ingenious, but it disappoints me that their food is so poisonous, and they appeal so much to kids, who need to be eating healthier. Guess it shows just what big money can buy.
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  7. I think each commercial achieved the purpose of combining football, where an existing interest was a given, with striking the simplest chord that appeals universally “We’re all the same really”. In both cases a sense of community was conveyed with McDonalds being lighter and Coke more inspirational. Trashy products, and an obscenity that either is associated with sport or fitness but good commercials.
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  8. Hi Arleen; first let me say thanks for your wonderful descriptions of the videos you use as examples. As a blind person I find international commercials or those targeting an global market harder to follow without someone to tell me what is going on and what they are selling. It sounds like both companies did a solid job of advertising to a world market. not sure how i would market myself globally. I made a key mistake with my amusement equipment business during the process of choosing a name. I went with what sounded good and what I thought represented what I would be doing. I didn’t do my research or i would have known they don’t call them carnivals or midways outside of north america. 🙂 thanks for the post my friend. take care, Max
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  9. Hi Arleen,
    I think both companies hit their goal of connecting with a global audience. In the McDonald’s commercial, the advertising itself fits in with the impeccable timing of the trick shots. The Coca Cola commercial is very clever in having its product associated with the universal appeal in drawing the world together in highly common interest.
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  10. I don’t care for either company, but there is no denying that both commercials are very well done. I especially like the Coke commercial, it connects to people on an emotional level.
    The most interesting thing to me is that both of these companies are so amazingly successful they don’t even have to highlight the product they are selling.
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  11. I loved these commercials and the whole hype of the world cup. It is not a new event to me but over the last decade has definitely become way more interesting. The commercials carry with them an element of mystique and magic because the world cup this time is in Brasil and in Rio; both of which have to be a marketers dream locale I would think…beautiful people, beautiful scenery, beautiful weather, and of course “The Game”.
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  12. Soccer really is a sport loved by the world, so I’m glad professional soccer is fast becoming popular in the US. That being said, I don’t follow sports but do like analyzing commercials. Now if McDonald’s would put some of that advertising budget into improving the quality of its food…
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  13. I love the MacD ad Arleen. That is so cool the way they combined all the different people doing their tricks. I enjoyed the girl in heels, how did she do that? The World Cup is definitely something not to be ignored by a Global business as it presents opportunities to get out there and enter new markets being such a global sport.
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  14. I’ve only been able to sparingly watch the World Cup thanks to the time difference but with any major sporting event, the worst companies possible seem to come out. Their message is solid but I hope not too many people misconstrue great marketing for a solid company/product.

    I love sport but am really turned off by the commericalism of it sometimes.

    As with most multi-billion dollar marketing industries, It seems to be working. People continue to drink coke and eat McDs throughout the world. Perhaps the “message” is working.

    To answer your question though, the Coke commercial would make the biggest impression on me without prejudging the companies for what they are. If it were up to me, I’d not allow these massive companies to dominate airspace and instead would try to cultivate a more grassroots and local advertising tradition. Unfortunately, money talks.
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  15. Excellent post! I giggled during the McDonalds’ commercial and got teary during the Coke commercial, but then I’m a BIG fan of soccer. So they had me at FIFA. Having said that, I saw commercials during FIFA games that were just plain silly…a car playing soccer is not funny or clever, just goofy. What makes these ads work is that they did two things, they understood the wonder of the game, the global nature of it’s popularity and that the game itself should be centre stage.

  16. Both these adverts are hugely succesful and doing the sharing rounds on facebook too. I like the adverts and the messages they portray. But these companies are wealthy companies with big marketing budgets and they probably don’t need to advertise so much.

  17. Hi Arleen,

    I loved both commercials and they both connected with the people globally but in their own ways. Indeed, they know how to reach the masses taking advantage of the FIFA world cup event.

    The takeaway here is that it is not about the products but the people as in both commercials there was no mention of the products.

    Thanks Arleen for sharing these great commercials with us. Have a great rest of the week.

    Be Blessed,

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  18. I never realized how popular soccer is until lately. I really enjoyed the McDonald’s commercial. I think it has more of an impact because it doesn’t feature any famous people.

  19. I watched the commercials and read your post. I was wondering why they put the money to make those. People watch world cup, because it is world cup. They will drink cola, because they know what it is from the years of advertisements.
    Nothing can motivate me to watch soccer any way. I don’t drink cola if there is any other option available at a given moment. I eat the big Mac because I love it. I drink coffee with it too. So, did the commercials failed to reach me?
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  20. Oh my gosh, I will admit, I didn’t watch much of the World Cup but after watching these two commercials, which are both fabulous, I can certainly agree they made an impression. For me it was sheer smiles and joy in the McDonald’s spot to serious emotion in the Coca-Cola one. And that’s what I think makes for an effective commercial – is being able to connect with emotions. In the Coca-Cola spot specifically, there’s an immediate feeling of solitude, then despair with desolate looking places which turns slightly hopeful with the kitten, the little girl…and all of that grabs you before you even know what the commercial is about and you don’t quit watching.
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  21. I’ve always loved that soccer is an international game, seemingly without boundaries. And all you need is a ball. That’s it. Does any other sport have this diversity?! I loved the older fellow in the McD’s spot – makes you wonder, what on earth is he doing on a motorized scooter? I like that both McD’s and Coke went for the soft sell. You don’t need words – it’s like a silent movie. Everyone can relate to the images, follow the story, and get the message.
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  22. Hi Arleen,

    These two commercials were on target with the World cup. McDonalds commercial was a fun and upbeat one. Love the different age groups covered in that. From the young boy to the old man and his amazing stunts!

    But I have to say that Coca Cola really touched my heart. The were right o the money when it came to emotion. The connection of people world wide with a common sport uplifted their lives. When the man was chosen to go to the World Cup it was so motivating.

    Studying these two commercials is a great lesson to us all in the marketing arena. They both branded themselves so well.

    Thanks for the great share!

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  23. Hey Arleen,

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned about blogging and building a business it’s connecting with your target audience. Sure, we all want them to buy what we sell but our main objective should be about making those connections and both of these commercials definitely did that for me.

    I’m not into sports so I have no clue what’s going on but I do know it’s all the talk and very important to a lot of people. Thanks for bringing this to our attention on exactly how that can be done.

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