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The Most Successful 5 World Cup Marketing Campaigns in China

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The Most Successful 5 World Cup Marketing Campaigns in China

On July 15, the final game of 2018 Russia World Cup came to an end. After 7 rounds of the game, French won the championship at the end. It was the 21st World Cup game and there were over 2 billion people watched the game all over the world.



World Cup is the biggest carnival for all the sports fans every four years in the world. Moreover, it is also a great commercial opportunity for businessmen. Like any other grand sports competitions in the world, commercials on the World Cup are very important for promotion.



With the development of digital marketing business in China, it is notable that there was a lot of successful World Cup-related marketing cases in the past month. And, some of these cases are really creative and innovative.



In this article, Dragon Social has 5 most successful World Cup marketing cases in China to share. Would you like to know more about insights into marketing in China? The Dragon Social team has the best way to help you!



Also, if you have any brilliant ideas about China and marketing in China or any topics you’re interested in, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on our website, Facebook page, and Twitter.



Table of Content(Click to read)



1. Top 3 World Cup Marketing in China Read Now



2. China’s World Cup Economy  Read Now




Top 5 World Cup Marketing in China



1.Mengniu Dairy



Among so many sponsors of 2018 World Cup, Mengniu Dairy may not be the richest one, but definitely the earliest one. They launched varies of commercials a month before the World Cup starts. Moreover, Mengniu Dairy invited stars like Lionel Messi, Mesut Özil and Neymar da Silva as their ambassadors.



One of the Mengniu Dairy’s commercials is the most famous. This commercial is a one-man show of Lionel Messi, the content is about the life experience of Lionel Messi and the core value of Mengniu Dairy. Mengniu Dairy uses this commercial everywhere as much as they can.



↑Mengniu’s most famous World Cup commercial



There is a catchy slogan in this commercial, “I was not born strong, I was born predestined for the greatest” 我不是天生强大,只是天生要强. In fact, the original purpose of this video is to link Mengniu’s slogan and Lionel Messi’s excellent football skills together.



However, after the World Cup has begun, Lionel Messi and his Argentina team did not get a good result. During the group stage, in a June 22 game, Argentina lost a game against Croatia with a score of 0 to 3.



In the game against Croatia, Lionel Messi’s performance was far from satisfaction and it is certainly the maximum opposite of what the video has presented. As a result,  Chinese netizen used Lionel Messi and this commercial as a meme and this meme became famous in a minute.



Netizen changed the subtitle to ” I’m Lionel Messi, I’m so panic now.”



“I was not born strong, I was born doomed”



Not only the Lionel Messi’s image was used as online memes, it also spread out on different kinds of social media as a popular sticker. Thus, Mengniu Dairy accidentally got great attention because of  Lionel Messi’s lost. In the end, Mengniu Dairy’s cooperation with Lionel Messi became an unexpected success.



Mengniu Dairy’s investment in propaganda is extremely successful to any extent. It triggered a feeling of spoofing and involvement among World Cup fans.



2.Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd.



Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. is a company focusing on gas appliances and bathroom products located in Zhongshan City, Guangdong. Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. is neither the best nor the richest in its industry.



However, Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. has the most brilliant marketing strategy. It used a very smart way to let the whole country remembered it.



It started on the next day of the final game in the group stage. On that day, Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd.’s official Weibo account posted a tweet said that if French win championship, Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. will give full refunds to all customers purchased on Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. during the World Cup.



Naturally, there were not too many people take this bet too seriously. Most of the people just considered this as words to amuse. Certainly, there were also a small group of people



However, when French won again and again in games, people become more and more interested in whether Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. will fulfill their promise or not. Attention also brought Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. more customers.




The official website of Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd., “To celebrate French’s victory, Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. will offer a full refund.”




Then, when the French finally won the championship on July 15, everyone participated in Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd.’s got very excited about the refund. Surprisingly, Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. did not break its promise.



Long story short, Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. offered a refund of 35.2 million RMB in total over the next two weeks of the World Cup final game. However, this bet helped Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. to become a brand that everyone one knows.



In summary, although Vantage Gas Appliance Ltd. lost 35 million RMB for the refund, it gained the priceless publicity effect from this bet.







As a new tech company, Vivo was fully prepared when the 2018 World Cup came. First of all, Vivo launched their new mobile phones, which has a powerful function of playing music and shooting photos. Besides, this new mobile phone also has a special version for the 2018 World Cup.



Vivo’s special edition mobile phone for the 2018 World Cup



But, Vivo’s World Cup commercial is the most innovative and interesting marketing strategy during its marketing campaign in the 2018 World Cup.



↑Vivo’s World Cup commercial, “My Time, My FIFA World Cup”


In this 78-second commercial, Vivo put its focus on the stories of ordinary people. The three stories in this video are about a ballet-dancer, a football player, and an audience. Vivo presented its core slogan, “My Time, My FIFA World Cup”, through telling these three stories.



Because Vivo says they believe every ordinary people is outstanding and their stories are worth telling, the best way to tell their stories is to record them.



With hints inside the commercial, the audience will connect the idea of telling stories with new functions of Vivo’s new mobile phone.



In addition, Vivo also redecorated more than 50 stores in different cities into the World Cup theme. It also provides a sense of intimacy between Vivo and its customers.


The redecoration of Vivo’s store



To sum up, Vivo’s success depends on a comprehensive marketing campaign towards the 2018 World Cup. Vivo adjusted not only their products but also their campaign slogan. These adjustments are very useful to attract customers’ attention.






If you watched the 2018 World Cup through China Central Television (CCTV) Channel, you will not forget a repeated commercial for Zhihu. In this commercial, the famous young actor, Liu Haoran 刘昊然, asks the audience again and again whether they know what Zhihu is.



↑Zhihu’s World Cup commercial



It is true that shooting a commercial in this way is not a new thing. However, it worked for Zhihu.



As an online Q&A community lie Quora, Zhihu has achieved an amazing goal, it has 30 million daily active users and 100 million users in total. So, you may wonder who is the target audience of this commercial.



The answer is simple, this commercial targets those who are using Zhihu but not its users. Since Zhihu’s influence and online resources still need a search engine, like Baidu, Sogo and so on, to access.



Earlier this year, Zhihu launched lots of new content, such as online courses, online talks and so on. But, the most important new function is the optimization of its own search engine.



Zhihu tends to transform its existing users and resources into greater influence yet not depend on other search engines. Throwing in commercials on other media could attract new users and high-quality resource for Zhihu.



Thus, the aim of Zhihu’s World Cup commercial is to let people know and remember Zhihu as soon as possible. From this perspective, Zhihu’s World Cup commercial is a great success.






In Hongqiao Stadium Railway Station, Shanghai, Tencent put a magnificent performance art on the walls of this station. As Tencent’s most creative World Cup commercial, Tencent used 5000 pieces of old newspapers about the 2002 World Cup, the only World Cup China participated, on these walls.



Tencent’s most creative World Cup commercial



Of course, there are lots of marketing cases based on old newspapers. But Tencent’s commercial is considered to be one of the best cases.  First of all, it evokes football fans’ memory of the 2002 World Cup. Then, it gets closer to people’s daily life.



However, why Tencent still uses offline marketing since it is such a successful online platform? It is an example of Tencent’s strategic adjustment in 2018.



At the beginning of this year, Tencent launched its own SIM card, bookstores, and grocery stores. Tencent’s new strategy is to link Tencent with ordinary peoples’ daily life.



In order to fulfill this target, Tencent has to appeared in people’s daily life. Therefore, The giant poster in Hongqiao Stadium Railway Station is an attempt of Tencent’s new strategy.



It is worth mentioning that Tencent even invited Bora Milutinović, the former coach who lead China into the 2002 World Cup, to sign his name on this giant poster.



Bora Milutinović and Tencent’s giant poster



It is hard to deny that the idea of Tencent’s giant poster is a brilliant idea for offline marketing. It is also a brilliant idea to show Tencent’s determination on business transformation.


China’s World Cup Economy



Although China’s football team only participated in the World Cup once in 2002, China still carries a lot of weight in the World Cup. Furthermore, as the closest economic and political ally of Russia, China’s companies played very important roles in the 2018 Russia World Cup.



According to a survey by The Economist, among the official 19 sponsors in the 2018 World Cup, 7 of them are Chinese companies. The Economist also says that in the 2014 Brazil World Cup, sponsors donated a total sponsorship of 1.1 billion dollars.



Moreover, the image of China appeared everywhere in Russia during the 2018 World Cup. For example, the mascot of the 2018 World Cup, Zabivaka, and its derivatives are all made in China.



A doll of Zabivaka



Kayford, a sports company in Zhejiang Province, is in charge of Zabivaka. It won the contract from FIFA and the Russian government to got the official authorities of over 100 kinds of goods.



In addition, there were over 40,000 Chinese tourists traveled to Russia to watch the World Cup games. A survey estimated that Chinese tourists brought over 10 million dollars of economic benefits to Russia.



The official website of Kayford



On the other hand, in domestic, rebroadcasters like CCTV, Tencent Video, and Youku paied over 800 million dollars on the advertisement for the World Cup. According to statistics of CCTV, there was over 600 million audience in China watched the 2018 World Cup.



In conclusion, the 2018 World Cup is a massive economic drive for both Russia and China. Besides, with the development of China and Russia, there will be more varieties of companies participate in the World Cup economy in the future.








Naturally, it is extremely difficult for companies to develop their business in China without any help and guidance. We understand the difficulty and we are here to help! Dragon social has the best strategy and the most professional teams to help you anytime, anywhere. Please do not hesitate to contact us and tell us what you need!



Dragon Social can do all of these and even more with our different customized packages, as well as our all-in-one packages. We can design different plans that will suit your company as well as make the most of your budget. If you would like to know more about what we can do for you, visit our packages page!



Also, please visit our website for more information and professional analyze about marketing in China market! We are welcome to interact with us, tell us in comments what kind of topic you would like to watch in our next article. Thanks for your reading!



Dragon Social stays are up-to-date with any trends in China social media marketing.  Contact us or read more to know how to be a successful short video celebrity in China? Check them it out here:


Traditional to Digital Business Transformations in China (7 CASE STUDIES!)


The Best Marketing Campaigns of China in April 2018


4 Reasons Why You Will Fail in China B2B Marketing


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Wilson Li
Wilson Li

Acquired Master of Arts degree at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. A native of Mainland China with a strong passion for marketing and the high-tech industry in China. Currently working for the Dragon Social as a content marketer.

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