Brazilian marketers who were planning celebratory ads for a sixth World Cup victory had to switch quickly to plan B after Brazil's humiliating 7-1 defeat this week in a devastating semi-final game against Germany. Now, the message for some is shifting to what a good job Brazil did hosting the World Cup.
Banco Itau, a major World Cup sponsor, waited a day for the shock and agony to subside a bit, and tweeted "The pain is huge, but the pride in being Brazilian is bigger. We're united, Brazil." The tweet includes a photo of a man draped in the Brazilian flag, looking toward a cityscape as the sun sets.
With Brazil about to play one more game, for third place, on Saturday, Sao Paulo agency Africa is breaking on Friday night an Itau spot it's been working on this week in which Itau praises Brazilians for putting on a terrific World Cup.
That's also the message from sponsor A-B Inbev, which posted an image on its Brahma beer Facebook page of a crowd, many in yellow jerseys at a soccer game, with the words "Sadness passes. The happiness of the Brazilian people and the best World Cup are eternal. Onward, Brazil." The post continued "Applause to the Brazilian people who received the world with open arms, sang the national anthem six times, and will sing once more [at Saturday's game], and made the best Cup in history the biggest party in the world." (Not all the commenters were ready to cheer up or forgive their team. Typical comments included "The best World Cup, the worst team in history" and "No Brazilian in history will forget this defeat. If they lost 2x0, but 7x1 is too much.")
"Two months ago, there were doubts about the World Cup happening," said Marcio Santoro, Africa's co-president and CEO, referring to concerns over popular protests, violence and unfinished infrastructure from airports to stadiums. "Brazil is doing a super World Cup."
In the end, the World Cup went off smoothly, and in typically Brazilian fashion. There were still glitches at airports, for instance, but A-B InBev handed out free beer at the Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro airports.
At least one marketer scrapped a spot that played on Brazil winning the World Cup. Others didn't make significant changes. Icaro Doria, executive creative director at Coca-Cola and Nike agency Wieden & Kennedy Sao Paulo, said in an email "We are still doing everything according to plan on both brands. Nothing has changed."