The quadrennial showpiece hosted by FIFA is the most televised event in the world, with the number of viewers for the last final in 2014 between Germany and Argentina exceeding 1 billion. Football is really the language of the world every time the tournament begins, the number of brands that are looking to grab eyes is huge, and so the competition and the prices involved are also proportionally high.
Conducting a tournament of this magnitude is no simple task, and the costs are estimated to be at around 2 Billion Dollars to run the showpiece tournament. In 2014, FIFA lost two big names in Sony and Emirates, as their contracts expired. Thus, began an influx of Chinese companies that were more than eager to get in on the football carnival. Hisense, Wanda and Vivo are the three biggest Chinese names at this FIFA World Cup.
Vivo is a Chinese company that was started in 2009, but within the next 9 years have managed to expand to one hundred countries across the world. The brand initially targeted markets in Southeast Asia and India, before sighting its sights further abroad. It now has retail stores in 373 cities and more than 200 million users.
Vivo has managed to get into the world of sport quite tactfully, targeting tournaments/players that have a massive and faithful fan following. Here are a couple of examples of their activations in sport:
- Vivo and NBA China
In 2016, the National Basketball Association (NBA) China announced that they had entered into a partnership with Vivo which would make them the official mobile handset of the NBA in China, for all marquee events from fan appreciation days and New Year celebrations among a few others.
2. Vivo and the Indian Premier League
In 2015, Vivo signed a 2-year title-sponsorship deal with the IPL, which was then extended till 2022. The IPL is a hugely popular event in the Indian sub-continent mostly, but also in many places across the world. Vivo has managed to market their smartphones with innovative advertisements and activations during the 2-month cricket carnival.
3. Vivo and The FIFA World Cup
In the summer of 2017, Shenzhen-based Vivo signed a six-year sponsorship agreement with FIFA, which includes consecutive sponsorship of the FIFA World Cups in 2018 and 2022. The deal is reported to be worth 400 million Euros, where Vivo will pay around 60-70 million Euros per year up until the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Vivo’s focus on the upcoming World Cup comes amid a slowdown in the Chinese smartphone market. The third-largest smartphone vendor in China, Vivo was the only major Chinese brand to experience a decline in domestic shipments last year, down 0.8 per cent year on year against the backdrop of an overall 4.9 per cent decrease in the mainland market The most crucial factor for Vivo in this deal is that advertising boards, match tickets, media releases and all other key promotional material will bear the Vivo logo for the length of the tournament. The brand has pulled off some exciting activations this time around, like the Vivo Super Fan Photographers program which will give fans a smartphone and access to exclusive events such as pre-match player warmups to capture and create content, while the Vivo Super Time and Super DJ projects will provide entertainment at all match events.
Vivo also plans to introduce a “World Cup Edition” Vivo phone which has an AI smart-assistant that can provide match previews, real time updates and notifications.
As was shared with the world by Vivo Executive Vice-President Ni Xudong at the partnership announcement in Beijing, Vivo has clear ambitions of becoming the world’s leading smartphone brand. He likened the spirit of football to the spirit of progress and made it evident that Vivo is eagerly looking to associate itself with that very spirit.