Football (Soccer) And Advertising Have Loads In Common

VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05:  The United States celebrates after winning the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 5-2 against Japan at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

The USA Women were crowned winners of the Women’s World Cup only a few hours ago, and when he was celebrating the win, James De Bond, head consultant at Just Strategy suddenly realised what soccer and advertising have in common.

James De Bond
Posted by James De Bond

It’s been a great Women’s World Cup, and USA Women are rightly crowned winners having simply been too good for everyone else. They had the right ingredients and employed the best strategy and tactics to reach their goals. As Jill Ellis (USA head coach) puts it:

It is about staying true to our mantra, and doing the things that got us here.

Their strategy (mantra) was to play a high intensity game, with every player putting pressure on opposition players from the whistle. Throughout the tournament opposing teams simply did not know what hit them. Arguably, the Matilda’s put up the best fight scoring a goal to draw level against the USA Women, but were ultimately unable to cope with the sustained pressure for the whole game.

Final matches can be cagey, with teams frightened to lose. However, the USA women stayed true to their strategy and went for it.  At the final whistle, the USA Women’s team had scored five goals. Although no two goals were the same, three came from set pieces.

  • Goal 1 – Set piece move from a corner
  • Goal 2 – Another set piece, this time from a free kick that fell fortuitously
  • Goal 3 – Moment of individual brilliance from close range
  • Goal 4 – Moment of individual brilliance from long range
  • Goal 5 – Another set piece from a corner

So what’s the connection to advertising?

The three goals that came from set pieces! These are training ground moves that were practiced again and again until every participant knew exactly how to execute. This is true of advertising fundamentals, with your strategy in place, you have to continually practice and hone the tactics to deliver goals (sales). It takes time to figure out the right tactic, and too often we see campaigns dumped, when a few tweaks were all that were required to be successful.

Test, learn, evolve should be the mantra of anyone in advertising. Is the tactic on strategy? was the tactic executed correctly? did it work as expected? or did it perform another way? can the tactic be evolved?

Or, is it simply a moment of brilliance that is a one off? such as Queensland Tourism’s ‘Best Job In the World Campaign’.

Just like football, some moments of brilliance can come unexpectedly. However, there is no replacement for great set pieces that are practiced again and again!

Picture is sourced from Getty Images.