GLOBAL: This year’s FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia will add US$2.4bn to the global advertising market, according to new research by Zenith, with China contributing a third of that figure.

This will be the net amount of money added to the market, taking into account both the extra money spent by advertisers seeking to reach World Cup audiences, and any reductions in spending by advertisers that wish to avoid this competitive period.

Because of the time zones in which the matches will take place, about 40% of the potential audience will be asleep when they are played, so viewers will seek out alternative ways of viewing matches, which advertisers will need to consider. Younger fans, for example, have become accustomed to watching the critical moments of games on social media.

As well as being a conduit for those moments, social media will also be a platform where fans discuss matches in real time and Zenith expects heavy paid social activity as brands seek to join the conversation.

Additionally, news and sports sites will benefit from extra traffic, newspapers are likely to sell more copies during, and football-related out-of-home campaigns will be prominent, particularly around the stadiums where the matches take place.

The host country Russia will benefit from a $64m adspend boost, representing 2.1% of all Russian advertising expenditure this year; not only are Russians likely to be particularly enthusiastic about the competition, they will also enjoy the most convenient match scheduling – viewers in other time zones will have to watch at less suitable times of day.

But the biggest boost in dollar terms will be in China, where Zenith expects the tournament to generate $835m in extra adspend, or 1.0% of the entire ad market.

Chinese brands have taken advantage of the reluctance of some high-spending western brands to be associated with scandal-hit FIFA or with the geopolitical stance of Russia, stepping into the gap to reach a global audience. 

That reach is of course a major draw for brands, whether they are official sponsors or piggybacking on the tournament, but it can also expose poorly considered ideas even if they have good intentions.

Mastercard, for example, just scrapped a campaign in which it planned to donate the equivalent of 10,000 meals to the UN World Food Programme for every goal scored by brand ambassadors Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr.

The decision followed criticism of the “food for goals” campaign as people suggested it implied the players would be starving children if they missed a goal.

Sourced from Zenith, Campaign; additional content by WARC staff