How to Create Winning World Cup Marketing Campaigns For Destinations

June 26, 2014

With 715.1 million people watching the final match in 2006, the World Cup is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world.  Major sporting events offer destination marketers a significant opportunity to showcase the key cultural activities that make your destination a prime location to visit.

Case in point: just one month ago, the Brazilian Tourism Board (EMBRATUR) launched an international advertising campaign to showcase the energy, hospitality, beauty, culture, dance and food of Brazil with two videos—Dance and Encontros (Encounters).  Video reach is projected at 1.3 billion people and will be broadcast on television, the internet, social media and road advertising in 113 countries.

It’s not just the World Cup that provides DMOs with an effective platform for marketing a destination. For the 2012 Summer Olympics, VisitBritain launched the GREAT Campaign to promote the UK worldwide. This year, Atout France launched its biggest ever UK-targeted advertising campaign ahead of the 2014 Tour de France with Instagram-like pictures using the tagline, ‘What’s your Tour de France?’ The campaign objective is to re-establish France as the UK’s favorite vacation destination and also to regain visitors from Spain, Greece and Italy.

Here are four marketing and PR tactics to help DMOs win big and make sure your tourism message is mentioned when hosting or participating in a major sporting event.

  1. Leverage social media channels to create interesting, relevant content about your destination and the event. For example, Visit Omaha’s clever tweets  surrounding Peyton Manning’s ‘Omaha’ football call during the Super Bowl in 2014 will forever live in place marketing history.
  2. Know the rules. Only the official sponsors of the World Cup can reference the games in their tweets based on FIFA’s rules. But you can still use the trending hashtags #WorldCup, #Brazil2014, #USMNT, #OneNationOneTeam and #1N1T.
  3. Create compelling and helpful tourism content on your destination’s website to help drive search traffic. Is your country playing in the World Cup? With Google World Cup searches now at 999.9 million, and many searches on the countries playing, now is perfect timing for destinations to upload relevant content using World Cup keywords. The Holland Tourism website has great content about the World Cup.
  4. Reveal your destination with digital experiences. Travel marketing is all about experiences! Highlight the food, culture, sports team, things to do, sights and landscapes of your destination using video, photos, an app or interactive game.


Written by Genevieve Pritchard

Genevieve is the Digital and Social Media Manager for DCI. As a content marketing extraordinaire she helps set the digital strategy for DCI, create marketing collateral and implement tactics across multiple platforms. She’s also worked on digital campaigns for DCI’s tourism clients including US Travel Association, Visit, Finger Lakes Wine Country and Visit California.

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