Soccer Draw: CIBC, Yahoo!, Umbro get in the game

CIBC is bolstering its sponsorship of CBC's TV coverage of the FIFA World Cup by going mobile, Yahoo! builds a digital home for its soccer content and Umbro Canada launches a soccer newsletter.

From Cape Town to Polokwane, this year’s FIFA World Cup host cities across South Africa are eagerly counting down the days to the final tournament in July. But marketers in Canada have also caught the contagious soccer fever, and the opportunities that the game brings for brands to connect with diverse communities are unprecedented.

CIBC is today kicking off a cross-Canada tour in Vancouver with brand ambassadors and banking staff promoting its sponsorship of CBC’s Soccer Nation, a cross-Canada tour to promote its FIFA coverage. Touring in a wrapped RV, the CIBC Soccer Crew (developed by Toronto-based experiential marketing agency Fuse), will attend nine soccer tournaments, including the Soccer Nation Finale, a street festival held in Toronto on July 10. But the van will also stop at local bank branches, festivals and community events, explains Stephen Brown, president, Fuse Marketing Group.

‘There’s a family and youth focus,’ Brown says. ‘When they stop at our zone, there are skills and drills happening; there’s a bunch of games that they can play, and there’s also product information,’ he tells MiC.

CIBC will also ask the public to share their passion for the game by submitting a video to a ‘Soccer Everywhere’ YouTube contest housed on, for a shot at three $10,000 prizes. Creative for the sponsorship, meant to increase direct interaction between the brand and consumers, was developed by Publicis with media handled by ZenithOptimedia.

‘Our sponsorship of the CBC broadcast of the 2010 FIFA World Cup allows us to actively engage with the diverse communities we serve at a grassroots level, deepening our client relationships,’ Veni Iozzo, SVP of marketing and strategy, CIBC, tells MiC.

While CBC has the exclusive broadcast rights to the games, other media are going to be all over coverage, with online and mobile hubs that will be essential to the avid fan, or resident of one of the 32 countries participating. Yahoo! Canada this week announced it will have customized content on its World Cup 2010 site, as well as mobile portal set to launch later this month.

Yahoo! says it will feature photos, live scores, stats, videos, and schedules accessible through a customizable toolbar that visitors can skin with the colour scheme of their favourite team. The network will also host a fantasy style soccer game and a penalty shootout contest that will launch later this month.

And while for some brands this marks the first year of involvement with the sport, others have a long-standing direct relationship. Nike-owned Umbro Canada launched a newsletter that aims to establish a conversation between coaches, players and soccer fans, while introducing them to Umbro’s gear.

Developed by Toronto-based agency Element Eight, the newsletter will eventually host promotions that asks subscribers to contribute their own content to the monthly issue. The first is a ‘Sideline Snapshot’ promo that asks readers to take a soccer-oriented photo and post it on Umbro Canada’s Flickr page for the chance to win an England jersey kit. The newsletter will be distributed to Umbro’s existing database, and be promoted at the brand’s soccer events.