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2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

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What: Mexican National Soccer Team supporter fan group “Pancho Villa’s Army” (PVA) has expanded its base and developed strong relationships with U.S. marketers in advance of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Why It Matters: Passionate organizations like the U.S.-based PVA are ideal for many companies looking to reach the important Hispanic fan base.

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This year’s international soccer calendar is filled with important tournaments around the world, but the most anticipated competition for aficionados, casual fans, and marketers is the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. Official partners and sponsors like Coca-Cola, Hyundai, and Adidas will leverage their massive sponsorship deals to connect with consumers before and during the month-long competition.

One of the most desired groups in the U.S. for brands is the Latino soccer fan, specifically the Mexican fan who will passionately follow El Tri throughout the squad’s run to the championship match. According to a 2017 Univision-commissioned study conducted by Nielsen, “Los Fanaticos: Passion and Power”, 80% of Hispanic sports fans say that sports are their favorite thing to talk about (11% more than non-Hispanic fans). This is witnessed yearly when the Mexican national soccer team plays a number of friendly matches as part of its almost-now-required tour of the U.S., selling out venues to the delight of the brands who pay hefty sums to sponsor it.

 [Pancho Villa’s Army] has caught the eye of marketers like beer brand Estrella Jalisco, who recently reached an agreement with PVA to partner on a variety of events and promotions.

Enter Pancho Villa’s Army (@VillasArmy), the U.S.-based fan group supporting the Mexican national soccer team founded in 2013 by Mexican-American Sergio Tristan, who was looking to connect with like-minded fans to cheer on El Tri. The group has now 30 chapters with more than 3,000 members and 47,000 followers on Facebook, and they attend en masse just about every game Mexico plays in the U.S. They have caught the eye of marketers like beer brand Estrella Jalisco who recently reached an agreement with PVA to partner on a variety of events and promotions for Mexico’s 2018 U.S. tour and through the World Cup. They also have a two-year sponsorship deal with Nissan that started last year; Tristan has even been featured in an ad for the automaker.

The group garnered national and international media coverage when, during a 2015 Confederations Cup playoff match in Los Angeles between Mexico and the U.S., they unfurled a massive, three section wide, Mexican flag inspired banner that read “Sigo Siendo el Rey” (“I’m still the king”). That phrase quickly became a trending topic as #SigoSiendoElRey on Twitter.

Authenticity is a buzz word that is used a lot in marketing circles, but that’s what consumers are looking for: a brand that understands and connects with them through a passion point that gets to the core of who they are culturally. In the case of Estrella Jalisco and Nissan, soccer is the means to reach the Mexican fan in the U.S., and Pancho Villa’s Army is an authentic community partner that makes the connection deeper.

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What: Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc. has signed an exclusive contract with soccer star Neymar Jr. to support its 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ marketing and brand campaigns beginning in January 2018.
Why it matters: Neymar Jr.’s exclusive contract with Arcos Dorados’ Brazilian operation further strengthens McDonald’s brand market leadership in the country.

Arcos Dorados Holdings Inc., Latin America’s largest restaurant chain and the world’s largest independent McDonald’s franchisee, announces that it has signed an exclusive contract with Neymar Jr. to support its 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ marketing and brand campaigns beginning in January 2018.

McDonald’s is an official sponsor of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ and Arcos Dorados has signed Brazil’s biggest soccer superstar to serve as an ambassador in its media and marketing campaigns related to next year’s sporting event. A self-described fan of McDonald’s food, Neymar Jr. will feature in several exclusive activations that will offer the Company’s millions of guests the unique experiences that only the McDonald’s brand is able to deliver in Brazil.

“Neymar Jr. and the McDonald’s brand share values related to leadership, success, feel-good moments, family and creativity. So, it’s natural that we join forces to celebrate Brazil’s participation in yet another FIFA World Cup™. We are very excited to have Neymar Jr. on our team in 2018 as we continue working to deliver the best guest experience in each of our restaurants,” said Dan Gertsacov, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer for Arcos Dorados.

The signing of a global soccer superstar is yet another victory for the Company’s Brazilian operation, which has consistently delivered better operating and financial results in recent years despite a very challenging consumer environment.

Arcos Dorados has also announced a capital expenditure plan of around one billion Brazilian reais from 2017 to 2019 to modernize its existing restaurants and open new restaurants throughout the country.

During the first nine months of 2017, systemwide sales grew 6.2% in the Brazil division and 10.4% on a consolidated basis, excluding Venezuela. Its Brazilian market share is estimated to be between three to four times larger than its closest competitor based on systemwide sales. The Company’s Brazil division’s Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 180 basis points during the first nine months of 2017 compared with the prior corresponding period. Arcos Dorados has also announced a capital expenditure plan of around one billion Brazilian reais from 2017 to 2019 to modernize its existing restaurants and open new restaurants throughout the country.

“We have an ambitious plan to deploy the Experience of the Future (EOTF) platform in the majority of our restaurants in Brazil by the end of 2019. We are very pleased with the initial results of this roll-out, which are consistent with the mid-single digit sales lift that McDonald’s has seen in markets where EOTF has been fully implemented. We delivered strong results across our main markets during the first nine months of 2017 and are confident that we will continue capitalizing on our competitive advantages to capture the full potential of McDonald’s brand in the years to come,” said Sergio Alonso, Chief Executive Officer of Arcos Dorados.

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