4:01PM June 11 2014
Every World Cup I can remember has had one stand-out event that made the tournament memorable. In 1998 Ronaldo’s pre-final mystery illness baffled us all and arguably cost Brazil the tournament. 2002 had Keano flying home, 2006, Zidane’s headbutt and 2010 had Suarez’s handball against Ghana. But unless we’re treated to a Balotelli moment (and providing the stadiums are ready in time), the new technology making its World Cup debut could be Brazil 2014′s major talking point.
FourFourTwo recently printed a brilliant article highlighting these products. Off the pitch, the police on Brazil’s streets will be wearing frame mounted glasses similar to the seemingly never-arriving Google Glass. These will be able to capture 400 faces every second on the camera and scan them against the police database to catch known criminals.
On the pitch, the new technology making its first World Cup appearance could prove pivotal to the results of the tournament. The GoalControl 4D system has been chosen over the Hawkeye used in other sports as the goal-line technology system. This is accurate within 5mm with the referee getting a GOAL message to his watch if the ball has totally crossed the line. Football history has been littered with incidents that have called for goal-line technology to be implemented and FIFA using it at the ‘greatest show on Earth’ is a clear indication of the game finally changing with the times.
Nike (which we’ve all recently discovered how to pronounce) has also unveiled a whole array of new items for the World Cup. Knitwear boots that still give protection from studs as well as a hypertight compression system to aid recovery of swelling. Most interestingly though, kits that feature Dri-FIT which pulls moisture away from the skin and evaporates from the outside of the clothing keeping the wearer far cooler. With the potential of 99% humidity in Manaus this item may be the World Cup debutant that players are most excited for.
Finally, Adidas’ Brazuca ball will be showcased at the tournament it was destined for. We’ve got a few in the office from our recent ‘one shot’ campaign to launch the adidas body care range. The texture of the ball is dimpled to the point of being a bit odd to touch; but then all innovation seems a bit strange at first (what do you mean this tiny box can hold my whole CD collection in my pocket?). The ball, which has been heavily tested over two and a half years and approved by over 600 leading professionals (Messi included), has been widely lauded as a massive improvement from the 2010 effort the Jabulani.
The great thing about all of this technology is it enhances our experience of the event. Goal-line technology seems to have been a long time coming, and now that we have it in both the Premier League and major international tournaments it seems that footballing luddites may finally be silenced.
However the one thing we know about technology is that it’s only great when it works. This is essentially the worldwide launch of these products. A failure of one of these items could radically alter what happens in and around the tournament and be discussed for decades to come.
Launching any product is equally exciting and stressful for a company, even when it’s not on this global a stage. If there’s a failure à la the fifth ring at Sochi; the goal-line technology gets it wrong; the ball does something bizarre and costs a team the game or Ronaldo suffers a career ending injury as his knitted boots fail to protect him, the impact for the brand – and those responsible for it – could be huge.
So whilst you’re enjoying the spectacle of the ‘greatest show on Earth’, sinking a few Brahmas, spare a thought for the poor folks who are watching nervously in case of a Brazuca malfunction or goal-line technology failure. Every game in this tournament is a product launch for them.
Business Development and Marketing Coordinator
Image source: bit.ly/1oUgxAw