The curtain has officially come down on the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. France may have triumphed after a riveting month of nail-biting football, but Coca-Cola made millions of fans and visitors feel like winners, too.
As an Official FIFA Partner, Coca-Cola mounted a massive logistical operation to keep fans refreshed, boosted its brand though a host of unforgettable experiences, and laid the groundwork for a lasting community legacy, built on the pillars of inclusion, sustainability and youth football development.
Drawn to the drama, more than 3.5 million fans attended matches in 12 stadiums in 11 host cities. Not only did Coca-Cola keep these thirsty fans refreshed with its broad portfolio of drinks, including new arrivals like glacéau smartwater and Fuze Tea. It also catered for a staggering 7.1 million spectators and visitors enjoying the action at FIFA Fan Fest sites in the host cities.
In addition, Coca-Cola refreshed thousands of people involved in the matches, including players, coaches, volunteers, media and more. That’s more than 2.9 million thirst-quenching beverages during the tournament.
Working together with its bottling partner, Coca-Cola HBC, The Coca-Cola Company’s dedicated 2018 FIFA World Cup project team created unforgettable experiences for fans and visitors. Large Coca-Cola commercial displays at five stadiums provided refreshment and the chance to enjoy fun pre-match experiences, like face-painting or making personalized match-specific Coca-Cola cups with your own photo.
Claudio Villa – FIFA / FIFA via Getty Images
Mark Metcalfe- FIFA / FIFA via Getty Images
More Coca-Cola fun was had at eight FIFA Fan Fest sites, where nearly 628,000 fans enjoyd unforgettable experiences and goodies, including branded football-themed souvenirs.
Claudio Villa - FIFA / FIFA via Getty Images
To make sure as many fans could the enjoy the action as possible, Coca-Cola set up 14 public viewing areas in 10 cities. These were enjoyed by 261,000 fans.
Coca-Cola helped fans enjoy art, too. In Moscow's Gorky Park, with the support of the Moscow City Administration, Coca-Cola helped create a unique interactive artwork, dedicated to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Making Magical Moments
Coca-Cola marketing teams worked to connect and engage with consumers, across all channels of media. In Russia, for example, Coca-Cola launched a national promotional campaign on May 1, running until the competition ended. It covered the entire country, giving away over a million football prizes, including glasses, t-shirts and 2018 FIFA World Cup footballs.
For each FIFA World Cup, Coca-Cola creates its own global anthem, and this year was no different. The global hit "Colors", created by world-famous artist Jason Derulo, racked up 44 million YouTube views by the end of the tournament. A local adaptation by Russian rapper Basta was a hit with local fans, with more than 6 million listens.
To keep the buzz going online, Coca-Cola created an innovative social media campaign. A dedicated Coca-Cola football app, created for Russia's biggest social network, VKontakte, scored with more than 5 million users across the country.
Fans loved Coca-Cola going the extra mile to create limited-edition bottles to celebrate their teams’ results. Special designs celebrated the Russian team’s victory over Spain and their historic quarterfinal match against Croatia.
Coca-Cola’s marketing innovation also embraced football in the virtual world. In the run-up to the event, Coca-Cola became an official sponsor of the Russian Interactive Football Cup, organized by the Russian Cyber Football Federation. This included an exclusive cyber football event for Coca-Cola’s Leather Ball players. The young players were delighted at this innovative approach, showing Coca-Cola’s lasting ability to connect with its teen audience.
Legacy Lives On
While football fans across the globe loved every live second of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, equally important is the legacy that lives on after the final whistle blew. Coca-Cola developed far-reaching campaigns that will leave a lasting impact.
Coca-Cola's 2018 FIFA World Cup community legacy project focuses on three pillars. First, the promotion of an inclusive society, open to people with special intellectual needs. Second, Coca-Cola’s vision for a World Without Waste, minimizing the environmental impact of the event and promoting recycling. The third pillar supports youth football at the grassroots in Russia.
Coca-Cola's inclusivity campaign was unveiled on May 1. Since then, the campaign has been amplified across social media, using the hashtags #Readyto #Openhearts, raising awareness of Coca-Cola's work and of the social importance of opening hearts and minds to people with special intellectual needs.
The FIFA World Cup is the perfect platform to drive this message home. The involvement of supermodel philanthropist Natalia Vodianova has further boosted the campaign’s public profile.
Literally aiming to build a lasting legacy, the project – in collaboration with Natalia Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation – includes the construction of inclusive infrastructure in 11 cities across Russia. These are specially designed playparks with football pitches to be enjoyed by people with intellectual disabilities alongside their peers in the community.
Coca-Cola’s commitment to inclusivity was also brought to life through organizing unified football matches, uniting people in one team, regardless of gender, social status, or intellectual abilities. Coca-Cola organized 12 of these inspiring matches around Russia, with the biggest held on July 9 in Moscow’s Red Square to celebrate 50 years of the Special Olympics.
Another important element of the "#Readyto #Openhearts" campaign was the integration of teens with special needs into the FIFA Youth Program. This focused on promoting youth sports – particularly football – for people of all abilities, giving them the opportunity to take part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches as coin toss assistants and flagbearers. In addition, young players from Russia’s biggest grassroots football competition, "Leather Ball" — supported by Coca-Cola – had the chance to win opportunities to work as ball crew, just metres away from their football idols, and get inspired for further achievements.
The global profile of the FIFA World Cup was an opportunity for Coca-Cola to build another important legacy – to promote recycling and work towards our vision for a World Without Waste. To this end, there was a huge waste collection and recycling programme at the 11 FIFA World Cup™ host cities and 12 stadiums, designed to achieve the highest rate of recycling ever seen in Russian sport.
“Long after the thrill of global events like the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we hope projects like these become part of people’s daily lives. While we’re one company at one tournament, change has to start somewhere," said Bea Perez, chief communications, public affairs, sustainability and marketing assets officer, The Coca-Cola Company.