Helping Disappointed U.S. Soccer Fans Find a New Fandom
Travel search engine Kayak.com puts all the options in one place so people can filter and explore deals. But in a category of big-budget competitors, we needed to show how Kayak enables confident travel – and get people talking about the brand heading into the busy summer travel season.
The FIFA World Cup was predicted to be summer’s biggest social-chatter event. Once we discovered that Kayak's audience heavily over-indexed for soccer fandom, and especially World Cup interest, we realized that the brand was in a unique position to insert itself into the conversation around the biggest cultural – and travel – event of the summer.
American soccer fans were left adrift when the U.S. men’s national team didn’t make it into the tournament for the first time in 28 years. So we created Kayak Matchmaker, a personalized digital experience enabling fans to find a surrogate team while simultaneously showcasing Kayak’s data and search tools.
To aid in finding their new team, Kayak Matchmaker’s interactive quiz asked users their favorite jersey colors, cheering style (on the scale of polite to rowdy), the team’s odds of winning (prefer an underdog or a sure-thing perennial powerhouse?), and favorite foods (salty or sweet). Users selected answers on a sliding scale similar to Kayak’s travel filters. Kayak then crunched the data so users could find their new team, share their quiz results on social and, of course, search for flights.
Engaging video and social content invited fans to catch a match in any of the 32 competing teams’ far-flung locales: “Skol in Iceland. Ole in Brazil. Test-drive other teams’ traditions. Wear your heart on your scarf. Eat the food: chicken on a stick, brats in a bun, octopus in a ball.” Dramatic destination photos were juxtaposed alongside fun, kitschy travel props and soccer gear.
Earned and paid media, including a Fox Sports livestream mention, amplified the effort.
- 166+ million impressions in six weeks
- 177,000+ travel searches from the Fox Sports mention, driven from 4,500 Matchmaker page visits, up 900 percent from the previous day
- Another 122,555 travel searches from a single Instagram post
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