LONDON: Brands that tailor their creative to tap into national sentiments during the World Cup can “ride the emotional wave” and generate significantly higher levels of consumer engagement – as long as the team is winning.

Researcher Ipsos invited 30 England fans to watch four ads before the World Cup started, and then had the same people back again after England had defeated Colombia in the first knock-out game to watch the same four ads again.

Using EEG techniques to produce two key metrics in relation to response to advertising – attention and emotional engagement – the researchers concluded that context does make a difference.

In the second viewing, attention was slightly down – not surprising when one considers people had already been exposed to the ads – but emotional engagement had significantly risen for two of the ads.

One, Dream Big with Lidl, for the discount supermarket, featured England players and references to the “three lions” badge and the World Cup; this saw overall emotional engagement grow 15%.

The other, HSBC bank’s Global Citizen, had no World Cup link but centred around national pride and this produced a 31% lift in emotional engagement, including a 28% increase during the only football scene in the ad.

Response to the official World Cup ad for Coca-Cola was consistently high in both sets of viewing , although the payoff line of the ad – “Are you ready for kick off” – produced a lift in engagement in the second viewing, which the researchers attributed to the fans’ anticipation of the upcoming quarter-final game.

“As emotions run high, brands and advertising do have the ability to ride the ‘emotional wave’ and profit it from it,” they said.

But to do that successfully requires an “all-in” approach. The fourth ad, for LG’s OLED TV, focused on a generic football fan and product benefits and was the only ad that showed no difference in emotional engagement between the two viewings.

At the same time, however, had England crashed out of the competition early as in previous years, the response may have been very different (interestingly, Ipsos has undertaken similar research in Germany, whose national team unexpectedly went out at the group stage), suggesting marketing decisions based on these metrics could be a bet based on an assessment of a team’s chances of success.

Sourced from Ipsos; additional content by WARC staff