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Coca-Cola Continues Sports-Focused Ad Strategy Heading Into World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins next weekend. And while the United States men’s national team won’t be participating, numerous U.S.-based brands will be advertising during the event.

Among the biggest names that will be appearing throughout the month-long tournament is Coca-Cola; a FIFA corporate partner since 1974. As Adweek’s Alissa Fleck discussed on Tuesday, the beverage brand will have three ad spots running in over 200 countries during the World Cup, along with special numbered can designs that let fans predict and share game scores.

Given the brand’s long-term investment in the World Cup, it comes as no surprise to see a large presence this year. But it’s also fitting with Coca-Cola’s overall ad strategy, which leans heavily on sports and sports-related television.

Looking at data from TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Coca-Cola has earned over 3.4 billion impressions from January 1 through June 5, and the top six shows were all sports. The 2018 Winter Olympics own nearly 10% of those TV impressions, and the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament had about 7% of the total. Beyond those big two, spots airing during NASCAR races had over 109 million impressions, the NBA has about 100 million, Super Bowl LII earned 71 million, and college basketball (non-NCAA Tournament) had about 42.3 million.

Eyeballs are just part of the equation, however, as attention is a critical measure of whether or not audiences actually watched the ad. iSpot’s attention score metric, which captures the percentage of an ad played across a TV device, found 13 different Coca-Cola ads with a 89 or higher since January 1. “Mural” leads the way with 94.59, but it’s followed closely by spots like “Food Feuds: Tailgate” (93.14) and the recently released “Sharing is Always Better” (90.91).  The latter ad has been heavily focused on sports programming, with 100% of appearances occurring during sports — led in terms of impressions by the NBA.

While Coca-Cola’s World Cup ads have yet to appear on TV, they’ll hit televisions, they’ve shown a clear understanding of the sports audience this year and the new creative should continue that trend. The World Cup begins on Thursday, June 14 on FOX.