Football may not be coming home (this year, at least), but it’s been one of the most enjoyable, exciting tournaments in years nonetheless.
To celebrate, we’ve looked at the World Cup with our marketing agency hat on, and rounded up our favourite viral memes, marketing tie-ins and other notable media moments.
It’s Coming Home…
The 1996 classic has been a mainstay of England’s footballing hopes for over two decades now, but this year it collided with a rising tide of optimism and some heavily ironic meme culture in an incredibly rewarding way.
Whether it was being worked into scenes from classic films and sitcoms, prompting debates over the use of the harpsichord in hit songs, or being booked a special ticket by British Airways (surely one of the smartest marketing tie-ins of the tournament), what started out as a shared joke transcended irony to become a genuine possibility – even if only for a little while.
Gareth Southgate: National Treasure
It seems a lifetime ago that poor Gareth Southgate was to be found sat in a Pizza Hut advert with a paper bag over his head, the penalty-missing butt of the nation’s jokes.
Cut to 22 years later, and Southgate’s managerial grace under pressure and sartorial flair have elevated him to the level of beloved national treasure. On social media, the #GarethSouthgateWould hashtag became a place for people to share their high opinions of the man himself, while he single-headedly turned England into a nation of waistcoat advocates – the day before that fateful semi-final against Croatia, Marks & Spencer reported a dramatic spike in waistcoat sales. They then used this to their advantage with a particularly inventive bit of marketing.
Harry Maguire: Ladykiller (Meets the Vardy Express)
It may have been the photo of England’s breakout star nonchalantly greeting his girlfriend that kicked off the first round of Harry Maguire memes, but almost as memorable was the moment when he fielded a press interview question on the size of his head from teammate Jamie Vardy, who was posing as a reporter from ‘The Vardy Express’.
It might seem a little unkind to bring up someone’s physical appearance so publicly, but when it’s the head that scored one of the tournament’s most impressive, exciting goals, we think we can let this one slide.
Roy Keane vs. Ian Wright
Away from the internet, there were still plenty of memorable World Cup media moments. On-screen conflict makes for great TV – whether it’s the sporting competitiveness occurring on the pitch, or former footballing legends taking chunks out of each other, as Roy Keane and Ian Wright did during ITV’s coverage of the match.
We can only hope that Keane and Wright have taken their heated spat in good humour, but it was terrific television regardless.
Our World Cup highlights:
Eric Dier breaking the spell of England’s penalty shootout curse.
England 6, Panama 1 – enough said.
The emotional rollercoaster that VAR has taken us on.
Russia’s unexpected journey from last place ranking to the quarter finals – talk about a home advantage!
England’s best performance since 1990, and a revived love for the game itself.