#WorldCup: #LuisSuarez, #Biting and #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave

World Cup

The World Cup has already seen a record number of viewers this year – up 44% from 2010 – and where there’s a big TV audience, witty tweets can’t be far behind. As of July 1, there were more than 300 million tweets related to the World Cup. Twitter even set up a unique #WorldCup page that features a scoreboard, a list of verified team and related accounts, and of course, a compilation of #WorldCup tweets, photos and videos. With these kinds of numbers, it’s a no-brainer for brands to get in on the conversation – and a few unexpected events set the stage for some interesting real-time tweets.
First, there was @LuisSuarez.
Uruguayan soccer player Luis Suarez has a history of, well, biting other players, and he lived up to his reputation when he sunk his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini during the Italy vs Uruguay game. In the moments that followed, Twitter erupted with witty tweets and memes.
Learning from the famous Oreo Super Bowl blackout tweet, several brands jumped to Twitter to get in on the real-time conversation. AdWeek compiled a list of some of the best #LuisSuarez #biting tweets from brands. My personal favorite is the @SNICKERS tweet below, which garnered a whopping 47,956 retweets and 21,539 favorites.

 Not only is this tweet funny, but it also fits in perfectly with the “Snickers Satisfies” message “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign. Another of my favorites is the @budlight tweet below:    

Again, this is funny, relevant to the conversation, consistent with overall branding, and highlights a product attribute. It’s no secret that brands can benefit from using humor on Twitter, and both Snickers and Bud Light hit the jackpot by tapping into a real-time situation with entertaining photos. Then came #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave More than 16 million viewers tuned in to watch the United States take on Belgium in the World Cup Tuesday afternoon. The U.S. lost 2-1, but goalie Tim Howard stole the show. Howard’s record-breaking 16 saves prompted 1.8 million Twitter mentions and even a renaming of his Wikipedia page to “Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.”      

Then, an entirely new animal emerged: #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave.

The Wall Street Journal compiled some of the best memes out there, including Tim Howard saving the dinosaurs, Bambi, Blockbuster, The European Union and the Titanic, just to name a few.


What’s next?
With two weeks left in the tournament, it will be interesting to see how the tournament and online conversation play out. This year’s #WorldCup shows a marked change in social media use for brands. While Oreo once stood out for taking advantage of a real-time event on Twitter, this has become the norm. In order to stay relevant, brands have to always be on their toes, thinking of creative ways to insert themselves into real-time conversations in a way that’s entertaining and relevant, not annoying.
Brigid Gorham

BIG fish PR is an unconventional agency that helps its clients redefine their industries.