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The World Cup Brazil 2014 might be nine months away, but advertisers are already clamoring to figure out how to produce branded videos around the event. And for very good reason.

According to advertising experts we talked to, a good, branded video around the event has the potential to get unheard-of sharing numbers and as many as a billion views. That's encroaching on "Gangnam Style" territory.


First of all, the fact that the World Cup is happening in Brazil has a lot to do with it.

The Wall Street Journal recently dubbed Brazil the "social media capital of the universe." Hyperbole aside, after the United States, Brazil is Facebook's second-largest market and also provides YouTube with its second-most unique visits.

The U.S. has 316.6 million people. Brazil's population is estimated at 196.7 million.

Unruly Media measures the share rate of viral videos and consults companies about how they can create branded content that people want to send to their friends.

Founder and COO Sarah Wood told Business Insider that while Unruly measures an average share rate of 1.31% for branded videos, in Brazil that average share rate jumps to 4.41%.

"What we see in Brazil is an audience that has a real appetite not only for watching videos, but sharing videos," Wood said. "And there's an openness to branded content."

Not only do Brazilians have a propensity to share videos, but they will probably be even more inclined to share videos related to soccer.

"When you think about Pelé and Ronaldo, you think about Brazil," she said. "It is the perfect heart and soul of football."

But even if the World Cup 2014 were in a different country, it would still be an ideal platform for potentially viral content. It is a tent pole event that will produce a lot of excited chatter — much like a presidential election or the Olympics. Given that 2013 has lacked any unifying event, if we aren't counting the births of various famous celebrity and royal babies, that has given advertisers the opportunity to hone their creative for 2014.

Some brands have already begun. 

Nike's 25th anniversary commercial called "Possibilities" featured soccer stars in a stadium. It has more than 9 million views in less than two weeks.

More recently, Qatar Airlines released a video starring FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Gerard Piqué taking a flight to a giant soccer stadium (posturing towards the World Cup, perhaps). The tagline reads: "A team that unites the world."

Wood said that other advertisers have approached Unruly to discuss World Cup video strategies that can help them optimize share rates.

"Brazil 2014 is the perfect storm for creating the most shared branded video ever," Wood said. "It has the potential to deliver a billion-view video. Whether it does depends on the quality of the content and the distribution strategy behind it."

With 10,000 branded videos posted to YouTube last month alone, Wood noted that the social media space is simply too cluttered to leave the possibility of a video going viral to chance.

"Brands understand YouTube is the place videos go to die," she said. "It's not enough to put it on a Facebook page and hope fans share it." Distribution plans are key.

Official sponsors should also watch out for non-sponsors to ambush the tournament. For example, no one remembers that Nike wasn't an Olympics sponsor, but everyone remembers its viral "Find Your Greatness" ad starring an overweight child jogging down a road for 60 seconds.

"Some advertisers are thinking if they should try to create a campaign for a global audience or tell different versions of the story regionally," Wood added.

Since humor varies country to country, you tend not to see many funny Olympics videos. They skew toward inspirational and warm.

Unruly predicts, however, that the videos that truly fly virally will be a bit funnier and make their audience feel excited and exhilarated. This is because the demographic skews slightly younger and more male, and because of soccer stars' cheeky reputations.

"This is a country that likes to party," Wood said. And hopefully that mentality of spreading excitement will rub off on advertisers' branded content.

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