‘Sport is the only content that is watched live because it´s the only way to get the full experience. News, films, TV shows – everything else can be watched “on demand” but sports. People often organize their lives around the sports TV schedules which is an added value of sports offer to the promotion of a country that is hard to beat”, concluded Pete Radovich, CBS´s Creative Director during one of the most visited panels “What Does Football Mean to the Croatian Brand?”.
The Croatian national football team literally “swiped” the World Cup and created hundreds of thousands of articles, TV reports, billions of tweets and searches on Croatia. Everyone wanted to know where this Croatia and these chequered people were. The National Tourist Board reacted immediately and gave the people what they wanted – they started a campaign and set geolocations during the matches which targeted the audience precisely by showing them the “Croatia full of life” TVC which featured Croatian footballers.
“We created a shorter version of our promotional video “Ambassadors of Croatian Tourism” where we only left the scenes with the Croatian footballers. The results were excellent”, stated Kristjan Staničić, Director of the Croatian National Tourist Board.
During the match with England, the focus was more on the area around the Luzhnhiki stadium, and it spread around the entire Moscow area after the match. The shorter version od the promotional video was viewed over 250.000 times and after Croatia made the finals the view rate of the video rose for 161 percent.
‘The success of our football players made our job easier, and we reacted in time. Recently, the photographer who got “trampled” by Mandžukić and the rest of the team visited by us, and we are still running the campaign for the post-season, “Staničić said, adding that there was an increase of interest for Croatia during the broadcasting in all markets, and September is also showing good numbers. markets there was an increase in interest for Croatia, good.
‘I think the World Cup effect will leave a deeper trail. Compared to other competitive countries, we have a significantly smaller budget, so the sports success stories really help with the promotion. Another great piece of information is that some markets showed a double-digit increase in bookings and interest”, said Staničić. The Croatian National Tourist Board is running campaigns on the American and European markets as well as Asian countries like China and Japan. Depending on the trends in each country, the campaigns are a combination of a mix of channels, but they are mostly based on digital tools.
Zlatko Dalić, the coach of the Croatian national football team, is most proud of the fact that the World Cup restored national pride and our slightly lost identity.
“Silver is great, but what may be an even bigger thing is what was happening during and after the matches. So much positive energy and pride, the chequered jerseys were back, children were cheering…when we lost the final match, there were so many headlines like “You might not have won the World Cup, but you won our hearts”, stated Dalić.
Besides the silver medal, the coach put Croatia in focus in Russia when he insisted that he and the players exclusively talk in Croatian during the press conferences. There is an anecdote with a Sky News journalist. After one of the matches, he asked Dalić a question in English. Dalić answered in Croatian. After the England match the same journalist came back, this time with a tablet, and asked Dalić a question in Croatian.
‘The man showed the respect that we might not have towards ourselves. I’m sorry that I didn´t answer him in English, so I could pay my respects to him. When I think of my branch of work, it seems to me that we don´t value ourselves enough, and that we lack confidence and bravery. A few years ago, I said I could become a champion if they give me Barcelona or Real. We always think someone is better than us, but who is better than us? God gave us the talent and the knowledge. When you go shopping in neighboring countries, wear a Croatian jersey. Everyone will know where you come from, and maybe you´ll even get a discount, “Dalić said.
Pete Radovich confirmed that in America more and more people know about Croatia, and more importantly, they´re coming here and on holidays. Radovich also said that the streets of New York were full of chequered jerseys during the World Cup and that football greatly contributed to the promotion of Croatia. They adore our jersey in the States because it’s different and ‘cool’.
‘A lot of Americans have heard about Croatia, but they didn´t know much about it. During the finals they googled ‘Croatia’ and saw beautiful photos of Croatia. And it´s all because of football, Radovich said, who made his English colleague in CBS wear the chequered jersey after losing the match to Croatia. The show was viewed by approximately four and five million viewers.