World Cup Fever is kicking up a PR storm

World cup fever has hit the world hard. Whether you are a footie fan through and through or couldn’t even state which teams are playing, FIFA Fever is unavoidable wherever you go, especially within the PR and marketing sectors.

The World Cup develops a sense of community, bringing the world together for a period of time. And companies want a piece of the pie.

Brands have been jumping on the bandwagon to ride the world cup coverage wave and plug their own products and services.

We’ve rounded up some of the best – and worst – brand campaigns from this year’s games:


Paddy Power

Ever the ones to stir up controversy, Paddy Power is at again with another snappy campaign. Although the brand recently faced backlash for spray-painting an unconscious Polar bear (yes, seriously), its newest World Cup campaign has received nothing but positive reviews. Biting back at Russian homophobia, the betting company has announced that they will donate £10k to LGBT+ charities each time the Russian team scored in the World Cup, proving that being brave with PR, while risky, can sometimes pay off!


Another company that is utilising the World Cup in order to raise awareness is Tesco’s clothing brand F&F. The company has teamed up with comedians Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett in order to break the stigma that men in football are afraid to speak up about their mental health. Tesco has received a wealth of positive reviews for this campaign. In recent months there has been an increased dialogue surrounding mental health and football, so using this within PR is not only rewarding but also an amazing way to generate a buzz around a brand.

Store Displays

On the smaller scale, local stores across the globe have been paying homage to the World Cup by getting creative with their grocery aisles. From football-playing fish, to crowds of vegetables, supermarkets have gone viral on Twitter with their mini matches.


A campaign of the same ilk at Paddy Power’s, yet this campaign failed miserably.

The credit card brand attempted to create empathy with football fans by promising to donate thousands of meals to children when Lionel Messi or Neymar scored in the World Cup.

So sans goal, 10,000 children are to go hungry?

The campaign sparked backlash online, with members of the public demanding that the company should donate meals anyway-goal or no goal. Proof that jumping on the bandwagon isn’t always a good thing.

So whether you love football or hate it, whether you watched every second of yesterday’s game on the edge of your seat or avoided pubs like the plague, the World Cup can be a way to get your brand noticed. But, as with any campaign, plan carefully to avoid PR-fails like Mastercard’s ill-thought-out campaign.