Whether you love it or loathe it, you can’t avoid the FIFA World Cup coming back every fourth summer. At Cog Design, we chose to embrace the occasion by inviting clients, peers and other members of the design community to join in a 2014 sweepstake.
We know that the World Cup isn’t a big occasion for many of our clients, so our challenge was to do something creative enough to engage the non-football fans amongst them as much as the ones that would be following the competition anyway.
Rather than simply allocating entrants to a nation and forgetting all about it until the final in July, we created our own competition to run in parallel with the main event. In the Cog World Cup sweepstake the organisations became the ‘teams’ in themselves, and we used an overarching mid-twentieth-century aesthetic to give the competition its own look and feel.
We began with the draw. We took the 32 invited organisations and, in the style of a 1950s televised draw, we picked out their number and allocated them to one of the national teams. We produced four videos (each covering two of the qualifying groups of the World Cup) and released them in stages through the day, on 2nd June. The anticipation built a buzz around the event and began some friendly rivalry between the team on Twitter. You can watch all four films on our Vimeo channel or here’s the edited version that we put together after the event.
Next we created ‘collectable’ cards for each of the team captains. We illustrated three anonymous football kits and applied national colours to them before adding the heads of each captain. Then we distressed each card to give it a unique appearance. We thought it would be a simple task but 32 unique cards (front and back) proved to be quite an undertaking. We sent digital versions of the cards to all of the captains, along with resized versions for them to use as their Twiter and Facebook avatars. Alongside the captain’s cards, we also produced referee cards, in various poses, for the Cog team, allowing us to officiate in the matches.
As the tournament began, we used a Tumblr-powered microsite to post fixtures, results and any other news. We live-tweeted from every game, replacing the national team’s name with that of our clients and colleagues, and jumping in with a referee’s card to blow the whistle or hold up a red card.
To entice more people to the site, we added an element of additional competition. Every team’s profile page had a ‘support us’ button; team captain encouraged their friends and colleagues to join their supporter’s club.
When the group stages ended, half of the teams were eliminated. But we didn’t want those teams to lose interest so we allocated them as supporters of another squad (which we kept doing until the final was between two teams with fifteen supporting teams each). We also introduced new features to the site, including a Spot the Ball competition.
We posted results and fixtures each day but maintaining visual interest was tricky (as there’s only so many times you can use the same images in the same way) so we mixed it up a little by adding special treatments for special events – a torn up card to mark the elimination of the tournament favourites, a bitten card to highlight the infamous biting controversy.
As the final approached we began work on the ‘prizes’. We produced hand-finished referee-style pocket books for all of the runners up plus a old fashioned leather football trophy for the overall winners.