Despite Germany technically being crowned champions of the 2014 World Cup, it’s clear that the real winner of this summer’s sporting extravaganza was social media. Millions of football fans took to various social channels to show support for their teams, discuss match tactics, mock players (when deserved, of course) and share scores.
On top of that, many brands across the globe made sure to get in on the action by creating attention-grabbing campaigns that engaged their followers and proved that they were one step ahead of the social media crowd.
So who came out on top? Here’s a rundown of some of the best uses of social media over the last four weeks of footy…
Germany and Brazil break Twitter records
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Brazil’s astonishing 7-1 defeat by Germany became the most tweeted about sporting event in history, with over 35 million tweets sent during the match. Days later the German team were part of another new record, as their winning game against Argentina generated a staggering 618,725 tweets per minute by the time the final whistle blew – the most tweets per minute ever recorded by the site!
The World Cup final became the biggest sporting event in Facebook history too, as 280 million interactions were recorded over the 120 minutes of play between Germany and Argentina. Interestingly, the United States led the way in terms of Facebook interactions (10.5 million), closely followed by host country Brazil (10 million), then Argentina (7 million) and Germany (5 million).
Snickers take the mick out of Suarez
The top branded image of the World Cup came from Snickers, who made the most of a pretty awkward (albeit amusing) incident involving Uruguay player, Luis Suarez after he was caught chomping into the shoulder of Italy defender, Giorgio Chiellini, when their two teams met during the group stages of the competition.
Snickers took advantage of the moment by sharing an ad for their chocolate bar on Twitter and Facebook with the tagline “More Satisfying Than Italian.” Alongside the ad they wrote: “Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you’re hungry just grab a Snickers. #worldcup #luissuarez #EatASNICKERS.” In less than 24 hours, the image was re-tweeted almost 35,000 times and received 3,250 likes.
A number of other brands including Nandos, TGI Fridays and Trident Gum also got in on the Suarez action and attempted to make light of the foul play with their own ads on social media, while football fans across the globe created countless memes that went viral within seconds. But none reached the same amount of interaction as Snickers.
Jurgen Klinsman’s social media sick note
As well as putting in an impressive performance on the pitch in Brazil this year, the United States team also managed to make their mark on social media through a couple of unique and attention-grabbing World Cup campaigns.
In anticipation of their game against Germany in the group stages, USA’s Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann penned a cheeky letter in the style of a doctor’s note, asking employers to let their staff have the day off work to watch the match. Jurgen referred to the upcoming match as “an important cause” and explained that the team would “need the full support of the nation” to advance to the next round.
In addition, the US Soccer Twitter account encouraged followers and fans to show support for their team by tweeting the hashtag “#USMNT” in order to receive a personalised football shirt and message addressed to them from Coach Jurgen. Alongside the virtual shirt (which had the user’s Twitter handle emblazoned across the back) was a thank you message and a link to buy a real piece of personalised merchandise from their official site. Very cool.
Rihanna’s running Twitter commentary
Following the deletion of her controversial Instagram account (for supposedly posting topless photos), it seemed Rihanna’s social media reign was over this summer. But not one to be held back from connecting with her Navy (aka her loyal army of followers), RiRi took to Twitter instead to assert her social status and decided to provide a running commentary for a handful of World Cup games, including the final.
Tweeting live from the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, Rihanna gave her followers a (slightly haphazard) rundown of the action between Germany and Argentina and even showed support for the German side by changing her avatar to an edited image of herself wearing a bathing suit in the colours of the German flag. Although many joked that RiRi appeared to be supporting almost every team playing in the World Cup for the last four weeks, Germany got her ultimate vote and her short-lived loyalty was rewarded once the final was over, as she partied with the German players and posed for photos with the World Cup trophy.
After her night out with the world champions she tweeted: “I touched the cup, held the cup, kissed the cup, took a selfie wit the cup!!! I meeeaan…… what is YO bucket list looking like bruh?”
Rihanna’s exploits on Twitter throughout the competition were so hard to miss that even Brazilian football legend Pelégave her a shout out! Clearly, she doesn’t need Instagram to cause a stir.
Neymar’s heartfelt video message
Twenty-four hours after suffering a nasty back injury during his team’s game against Colombia, Brazilian superstar Neymar uploaded a heartfelt video online, confirming to fans that he would no longer be able to play in the World Cup. The one minute clip saw the 22-year-old holding back tears while admitting that his dream had always been to play in a World Cup final – something that he was now unable to do. He also made sure to thank his fans for their support and claimed that Brazil would still become champions of the world without him.
The touching video has since racked up over two million views on YouTube alone and provided a much more personal way for Neymar to connect with his fan base instead of discussing his fractured vertebra at a press conference or via a television interview.
FAIL: Snapchat Rio Live 2014
While a myriad of brands and individuals mastered the art of social media during the World Cup, not everyone was as fortunate. Photo sharing application Snapchat seemed to make a pretty epic fail with their ‘Rio Live 2014’ feature, which automatically connected with thousands of unwilling users across the globe, bombarding them with videos and photos from Rio de Janiero ahead of the final match.
The feature proved particularly irritating to many Snapchat users, as they couldn’t figure out how to stop being sent images and clips from the Brazilian city. And naturally, they took to Twitter to vent their frustration.
One tweet read:” This Rio Live needs to get out of my Snapchat,” while another Twitter user wrote: “That Rio Live thing on Snapchat is gonna make me mad. I don’t even like soccer.”
Had Snapchat realised that not everybody is interested in the World Cup, Rio Live 2014 could have been a really cool addition to the application. At least they know for next time!