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World Cup Advertising: Opportunity or Waste of Budget?

Advertising environment during the World Cup suddenly became hot and all brands struggled to communicate with their audiences and made advertisements. Brands hustling led to huge budget shifts. Much of these funds have been allocated to television advertising: Budgets that at times were an opportunity to further grow the brands and at times were unproductively wasted. The following report studies the various dimensions of television advertising and allocated budgets to the World Cup.

During the World Cup period, the number of network viewers at the end of the day was about six times higher than the same time in the year 1396 (2017/18), and Channel 3 TV network earned the highest income in local currency in the World Cup period. The network recorded a 17% increase in advertisements compared to the previous year (2017/18).

According to a report released by Emrouz Market Research and Media Company (EMRC), the changes in the local currency value of advertising in TV3 network are not limited to the mentioned percentage; the shift in budget distribution and advertising time throughout the day were also among the changes. The network’s advertisement during the World Cup, compared to the average in the previous year in the final hours of the day, despite having shorter advertising times (advertisement time share in this interval decreased by 22%) due to the increase in advertising tariffs, the financial value of advertising recorded a growth of 20%. Examination of the Rial value of each ad on this network shows that Channel 3 advertising during the games was 2.5 times the average rial value of each ad in month long period of the World Cup.


133 Active Brands in the World Cup

During the world Cup period (24 June to 24 July 2018), brands spent 61,757 billion rials on advertising. This amount of money was for 37,225 advertisements and duration of 17.8 thousand minutes. If the television advertising performance of this period is compared to the monthly average in the past year, it is estimated that advertising costs increased by 18%, the number of ads by 40%, and the duration by 62%. What is important is that this volume of advertising is not limited to the World Cup games. The advertisements released directly during these games accounted for 35% of the Rial value, 7% of the number of advertisements and 5% of the total advertising time for this period.

During this cup games, advertisements under 30 seconds accounted for 85% of the ad numbers and 72% of the Rial value; compared with the advertisements of this network during the previous World Cup, both indicators recorded relative increase. This choice can be the result of attention to avoiding advertising by the audience and, of course, the high advertising rates in the World Cup; in response to these two subjects, the more active brands have selected shorter ads with higher number of airing for their active presence in the World Cup promotional space.

A total of 133 brands were active in this World Cup games with 86% of them being active domestic brands and only 1.2% of the advertising was for the foreign brands. This low percentage indicates the recent economic impact on the performance of foreign brands in Iran.

In addition, the report states: The advertisement cost per second in the World Cup is seven times the average advertisement cost per second in the World Cup round.


World Cup’s Top Promoting Brands

In the World Cup advertisements, 70% of the Rial value was allocated to 20 brands. Irancell was on top with 15% of the Rial value of the advertising. This Rial value is spent only on 5% of the total number of ads. Irancell was among the leading brands in 2017/18 as well having the highest value of advertising in local currency after Hamrah Aval. The important question is whether spending this amount of local currency on the World Cup games has produced the expected results.

In this report, the Iran-Spain game has been selected to examine the brands’ advertising performance. The active brands had 35% audience in this game. Also, 9% of the World Cup games Rial value was dedicated to this game and 39 brands have been active in it. A total of 60 ads with an average duration of 18 seconds were aired. A review of the promotional performance of brands for the audience in Iran-Spain game shows that the ads in this game totaled 2,190 GRP (Gross Rating Point). The Signal brand is at the top of the table with 153 GRPs earned in the game. On the other hand, Irancell, with the highest share of the advertising cost received a lower voice share (from Gross Rating Point) in this game, whereas the Signal brand received a decent voice share in proportion to its contribution.

(Direct advertising before, during or after football matches, with the exception of sub-advertising, have been considered in this section, and this measurement was carried out in Tehran and among people over the age of 15)

The report also mentioned that the Dove brand has paid 7 times the average of the World Cup rounds (58,503 million Rials), and each ad for Irancell with the highest advertising budget has had 3 times the normal value (23,959 Rials).

It should be noted that the following brands are next on the top 20 brands list: Hamrah Aval, Clear, Kalleh, Active, Signal, Chee Toz, Wintech, Zar Macaron, Rexona, Sanjabak, Nescafe, Gaj , Dorto, Sunsilk, Dove, Maz Maz, Tar O Mar and Samsung. Among the current brands, the banks are missing whereas in last year’s survey, the name of several banks is at the top of the advertisement table in Rial value.


Increase in Advertising in Second Week

The process of change indicates the highest advertising pressure has been in the second week of the World Cup games. Interestingly, as the games approached the final weeks brand advertising also began dropping significantly. But the report shows that based on advertising Rial value, the top advertising brand (Irancell), had on the average 20% of the total number of ads per week.


Moreover five games, namely France-Croatia, Iran-Morocco, Iran-Portugal, Iran-Spain, and Uruguay-France accounted for 58% of the advertising Rial value in these games. This Rial value was for less than 20% of the ad numbers in the World Cup. In each of these competitions an average of more than 40 brands were active. It should be noted that in the period under review, the average viewer rate for each game was 14%. In the audience group in the week under study, Iran-Spain and Iran-Portugal games had the highest rate (35% and 46% respectively) of viewers.

At the end, it should be noted: In calculating the advertising Rial value, this report does not include discounts and extra broadcasts; moreover, part of this growth is due to the fact that iFilm and Namayesh channels which have the greatest impact on the number and duration of the ads were not included in last year’s measurement.