Copa Airlines, Panama’s national airline, effectively leveraged its connection with soccer in order to build more powerful bonds with consumers.

Marco Antonio Ocando, the enterprise’s senior director/marketing and e-business, discussed this subject at the 2018 Festival of Media Latin America.

“We were really low in terms of consideration,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How sponsorship, word of mouth, and event marketing delivered brand love to Panama’s national airline.)

Elaborating on this theme, he continued, “Our financial performance was great, we were doing world class-things every day, but people were not really feeling it.”

As a long-term sponsor of Panama’s national soccer team, a relationship dating back over a decade, Copa Airlines boasted an established connection with a true passion point in the country.

“When the national team had failed again and again, we had remained strong there,” Ocando reported, even causing some observers to ask, “How can you guys support the losing team?”

But the team qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia – the first time ever that it would compete in the sport’s premier international tournament, and a major source of pride across Panama.

“This national team of generational players of Panama were really special,” Ocando enthused. “They were really doing something that had never been done.”

For the brand, it presented a unique chance to recoup all the goodwill and equity that could be generated through its sponsorship program.

“There’s one opportunity when you qualify for the World Cup for the first time. There may be other years we will qualify, but there’s only once that you do it for the first time,” Ocando said.

Its resultant activations included recording a musical “anthem” featuring numerous famous musicians, as well as showing off the plane that was solely available for the national team as it prepared to depart the country.

And as the players prepared to set off on their journey, extended broadcast coverage on two national stations boosted Copa’s brand. “We had 95% of the total TV audience,” Ocando said. “It was the most watched event of the whole year.”

Sourced from WARC