World Cup Soccer a primal brand

The World Cup is happening right now, which is a primal brand that recurs every couple years. The creation story goes way back, probably to people kicking severed heads around a field (OK, no one knows for sure) or more realistically, to some Roman games. The creed, of course, is to win. The winning country knows the thrill of victory, which suddenly brings even also-ran countries like Ghana, Turkey and Spain briefly into the international limelight. The icons of World Cup soccer are the trophy, the field, the uniforms, the enthused and sometimes rabid fans, the special soccer ball. Fan fight songs are also iconic. (I happened to be in Paddington Station one Sunday as Bristol fans arrived in London, transported in guarded train cars. The inside of the station shook as the fans marched, bellowing their ritual fight song.) The rituals included have all the fanfare of the U.S.’s own Super Bowl Sunday (although World Cup is a global rite attended by 5 billion people around the world via satellite, webphone or in person). The games themselves are rites. The parades, fans girding themselves to be present in the stands, at pubs and on the street. Drinking is a rite with sometimes deadly side effects. How big of a fan are you? Well, that depends on how well you know the words. The sacred words attending soccer are not unlike the lexicon of other sports: you have to know the names of the teams, the players, the famous plays, the stats as well as the rules of the game. How well you know the words, fixes your place in the hierarchy of soccer fans. Nonbelievers, of course, are the opposing teams. And people (Americans) who watch football, but not foosball (the rest of the world). The leaders are the coaches, the star players, the television and radio announcers who keep billions of people tuned into a game that ironically the United States hardly understands, yet the rest of humanity craves and adores.

[Primal Branding is a construct that lets you design a belief system using the seven pieces of primal code: creation story, creed, icons, rituals, sacred words, nonbelievers, and leader. Used together these seven pieces of code create a system of belief that attracts brand communities and public appeal for products and services, personalities, political and social movements, even civic communities.]