The Korea Herald


[World Cup] Korean firms gear up for World Cup marketing

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : June 13, 2014 - 21:30

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The 2014 FIFA World Cup is expected to spur domestic sales and help companies withstand dampened demand in the wake of the Sewol ferry sinking.

The global sports event is a good opportunity for consumer electronics companies to increase TV sales. Sales in World Cup years are usually 30 percent higher than the previous year.

Though Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are not official sponsors of the 2014 tournament, they expect to reap similar benefits, and step up related marketing to make the most of World Cup fever. Both have unveiled large TVs equipped with special soccer modes.

Samsung Smart TV’s soccer mode is designed to make users feel like they are in the middle of the action. The mode can be activated by pressing the hot key represented by a soccer ball icon on the remote control. Once it is turned on, the soccer mode adjusts the settings automatically. For example, the Stadium View enhances the vividness and sharpness of the grass of the stadium pitch to make it look greener, giving users a feeling of being right in the stadium. 
LG Electronics’ ultra-HD TV (LG Electronics) LG Electronics’ ultra-HD TV (LG Electronics)

Samsung has also launched a football-themed Galaxy 11 YouTube campaign to promote its Galaxy S5, Gear 2 and Fit devices, starring the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

LG Electronics has unveiled its Ultra HD TVs this year to take aim at the World Cup. The TV provides high-quality sound on a special soccer mode, can store key game scenes easily in a “Time Machine,” makes a cheering sound and displays cheering graphics, and produces firecracker effects. Its “save and edit directly” function is useful for highlighting captured screens.

LG Electronics has also released a new commercial for the Ultra HD TV that depicts the motions of Koo Ja-Cheol and Son Heung-min dynamically through a special filming technique.

Food industries are hoping to sell late-night meals through guerilla marketing. Guerilla marketing is a strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with a particular event without paying sponsorship fees.

Bakery companies are using images of soccer balls or the Red Devils, the nation’s largest fan group for the nation’s football team, instead of using the World Cup official logo directly.

Paris Baguette introduced two types of World Cup-themed cakes. The Red velvet cake is decorated with red horns, the symbol of the Red Devils, on cream cheese. It has also rolled out cakes with animation character Pororo playing football. Pororo is the most popular animation character among Korean kids.

Natuur Pop, a local ice cream maker, launched an ice cream named “Go! Korea” that looks like a soccer ball. The product has a 3-D ball, made from sponge cake. In June, customers visiting Natuur stores can get two-for-one coupons for iced coffees and ice cream.

Convenience stores and supermarkets are also preparing for the sports event. GS25 and Ministop convenience stores are giving discounts of up to 30 percent on imported beer this month. Another convenience store brand, CU, is giving a discount on breakfast items for those who watch games on TV outdoors until the morning and go to work directly. E-mart, the nation’s largest retailer, is offering discounts of up to 20 percent for customers who buy chicken and imported beer during the World Cup period.

Industry watchers say the World Cup Brazil will give a shot in the arm to retailers suffering a domestic sales slump in the wake of the Sewol disaster.

“As things are getting wrapped up a lot with regard to the Sewol accident, the World Cup is expected to provide a boost for companies marketing new products,” said Lim Chae-woon, a professor at Sogang University.

“Many companies probably want the global sporting extravaganza to breathe fresh life into the economic mood of the nation, so their marketing will likely pick up after the tournament,” he said.

By Shin Ji-hye (