MLS ‘Club&Country’ Campaign Leverages FIFA World Cup

Major League Soccer ushers in the new season with a multi-channel marketing campaign ‘For Club and Country’ that leverages the upcoming FIFA World Cup with the message that to prepare for the world’s greatest football tournament you need only look in your own backyard.


The strategy for the MLS’ 19th season is to capitalise on the World Cup and use it as a springboard to entice fans of the world’s most popular sport to align with and support their domestic league.


The creative approach is to capture the genuine essence of MLS through a patriotic lens and the campaign’s visuals aim to reflect the league’s authenticity, integrity, inclusiveness, possibility and excellence – for players, teams and fans.


Created in-house by the MLS marketing team, ‘For Club and Country” aims to lets US footie fans know they can watch many of the American and international stars who will grace Brazil’s 2014 play in Major League Soccer.


The campaign debuted pre-season with a Times Square billboard and online activation and will continue to roll out throughout the league campaign. It spans TV spots, outdoor work, print executions, digital advertising, social media content, in-stadium and storytelling formats.


The tagline ‘March to Brazil’ and the hashtag #ItAllStartsHere are also central elements of the new campaign (replacing the league’s previous ‘This Is Soccer’ slogan).


The marketing push is being supported across all five MLS national broadcast partners (ESPN, NBC Sports, Univision, TSN and RDS), as well as its regional broadcasters, plus the MLS digital channels including MLSsoccer.com, MLS+, YouTube, MLS’ content creation arm, while KICKTV will also play a lead role and work will also run across related sports sites such SB Nation and Bleacher Report.


The campaign also kicks off with a season opening fan Instagram-led competition that asks soccer supporters to upload a picture or video illustrating ‘where your soccer passion starts’ to be in with a chance of winning a $100 Gift Card to MLSgear.com, or the grand prize trip to the 2014 MLS Cup.


The competition is promoted with an online YouTube film




and includes a set of player-fronted ‘It All Starts’ Vine videos – such as this Landon Donovan example.




More than a dozen of the players set to represent the US national team at this year’s World Cup play in MLS – a major shift in domestic power when compared to the fact that during the previous FIFA tournament in South Africa in 2010 only four of the US national team’s players played in their home league.


The ever stronger link between the US men’s national team and the MLS is something the league is clearly proud of and the campaign’s core message is clear: the best way for American soccer fans to tap the excitement and anticipation for World Cup is to follow Major League Soccer.


‘Soccer is different from other sports in that a player can play for both club and country,’ explains  MLS Chief Marketing Officer Howard Handler.


‘This campaign speaks to the fact that many MLS stars will be representing their countries this summer in Brazil at the World Cup. To prepare for the world’s most popular tournament, fans only have to look in their own backyard.’


Of course 2014 will see a tidal wave of marketers riding on the coattails of FIFA’s World Cup and the MLS new season campaign is one of the first.


Its new season marketing was launched to coincide with the MLS’ first nationally televised game (on NBC) took place on Saturday 8 March when Sporting Kansas City played away at Seattle Sounders FC.




MLS ‘It All Starts Here’ Website



MLS ‘It All Starts Here’ Campaign Hashtag



MLS ‘It All Starts Here’ Instagram




MLS  ‘It All Starts Here’ Facebook



MLS Website








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