The World Cup is a very valuable moment for every marketer to build a brand and boost sales. It is broadcasted by 196 TV stations in 212 countries, and it is estimated that the World Cup which will be held in Russia this month will be watched by more than 3 billion people in the world, an unusually large exposure. Remember, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, the most watched, and the most talked about. And don’t forget, the fan community is very fanatical.

No wonder if the brands are competing to use it to make promotions and gain gold from this four-year event. For example, Adidas, who was judged to be the most successful at using the moment of the Brazil World Cup four years ago. With a briliant promotional strategy, this German global brand is able to produce 1.2 million mentions on Twitter and has sold 8 million Adidas jerseys and 14 million balls (Adidas Brazuca) worldwide.

That’s why I am all-out making use of this grand event to promote Wonderful Indonesia to a global audience. For me the Russian World Cup is a golden opportunity to reach prospect travelers from hundreds of countries on five continents, both those who come directly to Russia or who watch through television stations or streaming services on the internet.

Even though the audience reach is very wide, it covers almost all countries, but at the Russian World Cup this time I am still focused on attracting viewers from Europe because this is the most lucrative market. My term is “net in a pool that has a lot of fish”. It must be remembered, the audience from Europe is really crazy ball, besides that between European countries there are no borders, because most countries are visa-free, making it easy to move between countries.

Not the First Time

This briliant strategy to take advantage of world-class events is not the first time we do. Two years ago we also did it for the European Cup in France. At that time we were branding 20 city tour buses with beautiful views of various leading tourist destinations such as: Borobudur Temple, Ulun Danu Temple, Banyuwangi Barong Festival, Balinese dancers, and Komodo.

The key to success was not only because of the pictures of beautiful destinations that we display on the bus body, but because we are promoting at the right moment. Not only that, we also pamper bus passengers with free Wi-Fi service, which landing page enters Indonesia’s leading tourist destinations.

The same thing we did at the London World Travel Mart (WTM) last year. At that time we were branding 400 Black Cab Taxi with logo stickers and photos of Indonesia’s top destinations. The photos displayed vary from cultural themes, Balinese dancers, Borobudur Temple, Toraja traditional house, and views of Raja Ampat.

At that time we only put in a taxi no more than a month, but because of the massive installation, it is as if we were surrounded by London. Not surprisingly this promotion was reaping viral throughout the city of London. This promotion was more effective because at that time all tourism industry players gathered in London so that the exposure was very broad.

The last was the ITB Berlin event earlier this year where we once again surrounded the city of Berlin with the buses that we branding the Wonderful Indonesia logo and photos of our top destinations. At this world’s largest tourism exhibition, a gathering of tourism businesses from 187 countries including 10,000 exhibitors, 1,000 of the world’s top buyers, 26,000 convention visitors, and 120,000 trade visitors. This crowd is what we use for selling and branding Wonderful Indonesia to the world tourism community.

Once again ingenuity to use momentum is a key success factor.

Momentum Is the Key

When our promotional budget is limited, we must use it smartly in the right momentum like the Russian World Cup, especially when world attention is being sucked in there. The point is where there are crowds, then that’s where an effective place to promote. If we use the DOT (Destination-Origination-Timeline) concept, then the Russian World Cup has a Timeline that is very fitting to maximize return on marketing investment (ROMI).

Due to the importance of this moment, I specifically ordered Nia Niscaya, Deputy of Marketing Development II, to come to Russia to coordinate all of our promotional activities there. In addition, I also asked Don Kardono, Expert Staff for Communications and Media, to massively publish it in the country.

At the World Cup this time we made a limited budget by focusing on running promotions in two outdoor media (out-of-home, OOH). The first is a digital billboard that we will fill with TVC Wonderful Indonesia. The second is branding buses (open great buses, big buses, mini buses), which will traverse the streets in various competition venues in the two main cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. These buses are “walking billboards” that are very effective in reaching a broad audience.

The Wonderful Indonesia promotion truly adorns the City of Moscow. You do this by branding Open Great Bus (tourist bus) starting from 1 – 20 June 2018. Various beauty of tourism destinations such as Bali and Borobudur, accompanied by the Wonderful Indonesia logo and the 2018 Asian Games are scattered in this city. This Open Great Bus specifically passes through tourist spots in Moscow and attracts millions of tourists during the 2018 World Cup.

This promotion will continue on 2 Digital Billboards in Novie Arbat (Moscow) and Yerevan Plaza (Moscow), June 16 – July 15, 2018. In addition to Moscow, installation will also be carried out in Saint Petersburg, namely on 21 units of Big Buses and 4 units of Mini Buses which will start airing today, June 26, 2018 (see table).

Russian Federal Agency for Tourism estimates that the World Cup will be flooded by around 1.5 million spectators from outside Russia where the biggest portion comes from Europe which is the target of tourists we aim at. If it’s added by the population of the city of Moscow around 10 million, the population of St Petersburg around 5 million, and the population around the two cities around 10 million, then the potential of people who see our buses that are branding Wonderful Indonesia reaches around 26.5 million people .

With that much potential, this program has become very cheap because it has been watched by tens of millions of people who are potential tourists. However, as I have said earlier, we are more focused on attracting tourists from Europe.

I have a hypothesis that doing promotions in peak season, which are generally expensive, will ultimately result in a more powerful impact than promotions in low season. Just as if we use an expensive endorser, the fall in cost per view and top of mind is cheaper than using an unfamiliar endorser. Therefore we must dare to do promotions at major events such as the World Cup because if you see the impact it produces, the edges are cheaper.

Cleverly Playing OOH

The question is, why use OOH or outdoor media?

It’s because it’s not possible to put advertisements on TV. The cost is too expensive if we see the ability of our limited budget. But we can still work around this by using Digital Replacement Advertising (DRA), which is placing advertisements in the field area that can only be seen on TV screens during matches.

We’ve done it at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium (Real Madrid’s headquarters). Our branding did not appear on the sidelines, but it appeared on a TV screen. We can choose this DRA ad to appear in major foreign markets, such as China or European countries. These ads do not appear in all countries, so they are cheaper. Because of this advantage, I want to use it for the Russian World Cup finals later.

In addition, from our experience in previous events the use of OOH has been proven to reap impactful results. This media exposure was extraordinary, for example during the 2016 European Cup event where the promotion of OOH has led Indonesia to become the most favorite destination in France. Likewise, at the ITB Berlin event, we won an award as the Best Exhibitor in a row, one of the factors being the massive number of Wonderful Indonesia buses on the streets of Berlin.


Dr. Ir. Arief Yahya, M.Sc.

The Tourism Minister