Create Your Winning Marketing Kick-Off: Score Big and Magnetise Your Brand Through Sports Promotional Merchandise


What a heart-racing Argentina-France showdown epic that was. The 2022 FIFA World Cup may have rung down its final curtain on the 17th, after 29 days of exhilarating back-to-back action on the pitch — yet, to many fans worldwide, the FIFA fever is still here to stay; especially, ardent fans discussing matches and recap the ‘best-n-worst’ highlights of Qatar 2022.

Football fan or not, one can never deny that the World Cup remains one of the most highly anticipated sports extravaganzas, happening once every four years. Large groups of brands all around the world are also jumping on the attention bandwagon — hoping to kickstart their sales through promotional campaigns throughout the four-week frenzy.

In this tribute to the 22nd edition of the FIFA tournament, let’s take a stroll down memory lane, as we reminisce about the official mascots that have brought us many memories over the years: the true hallmark of each World Cup event. Not only that, we will also be looking at some of the refreshing promotional merchandise inspirations that will surely catch the attention of any World Cup or sports enthusiasts!

A man taking a picture of the sculpture of La’eeb, the 2022 World Cup’s mascot, in Hangzhou. Image credit: Long Wei/VCG via Getty Images

Magnetise your brand and attract more customers

The World Cup has an undisputed reputation of being one of the most lucrative sports events on the planet. In the world of football, the unwavering ‘connection’ between fans and their favourite teams is beyond words. It’s paramount. To these avid football fans it is “more than just a game”. From jerseys to flags, which are a couple of the many promotional products utilised to reach out to consumers, World Cup is an event product marketers simply cannot ignore.

Why promotional products for the World Cup? According to Sabina Heuss, former FIFA’s group leader of marketing, communication and research, “the World Cup represents one of the most effective global marketing platforms for reaching out to the consumer.” And she is not wrong. Relatively inexpensive in comparison to other marketing techniques which yield the same success, promotional merchandise and items can create strong leads, as they help brands stand out among rival competitors. Thanks to the power of social media, the designs and creativity captured in these promotional merchandise are Insta-worthy. This further encourages consumers to post a picture or two of the product online, boosting the social media engagement for the brands and businesses.

According to FIFA, the 22nd edition kickoff was predicted to generate a whopping USD4.6 billion in revenue, with a substantial amount of that income coming from brand licensing and merchandise sales. With such jaw-dropping figures, it is no wonder brands from all over the world are all geared up to have their brands seen alongside the World Cup moments: whether it’s at the pubs, family gatherings, or major public FIFA celebrations.

Two women posing with a plethora of promotional merchandise, featuring the ‘74 World Cup mascots, Tip and Tap. (Photograph: Hartmut Reeh/DPA/Press Association Images)


(TL–DR) World Cup 1974 souvenir bags, featuring the official mascots Tip and Tap. (Photograph: Keystone/Getty Images). A close-up of the shoes worn by a female supporter of the England team. On the right, a woman holding the slippers which were on show at the Blackpool International Slipper Fair. (Photograph: Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images, SSPL via Getty Images)

With the curtain brought down on 17 Dec, after witnessing one of the most exciting World Cup finals in history — showdown between Argentina and France — eyes are surely still glued on to many of the attention-grabbing merchandise. From jerseys to bucket hats and collectible pins, we have hand-picked a selection of refreshing World Cup (sports) promotional items for brands to kick-off their marketing campaigns with a blast!

Skyrocket your brand awareness

In our previous blogs, we have discussed how popular household cartoon characters continue to acquire much fame and popularity among consumers, through the licensed merchandise launched by brands and businesses. In this week’s flashback Wednesday, we will take a look at the past official World Cup mascots. Also, find out how you can put your brand logo on some of the attention-grabbing product inspirations our team have hand-picked — and get noticed by your audience.

1. England 1966 – Willie

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The very first World Cup mascot. England’s lion, wearing a Union Jack jersey with ‘WORLD CUP’ inscribed on the front. The 1966 World Cup Willie’s success ensured he became a pioneer for mascots at major sporting events, setting the standard for his many successors in years to come.

2. Mexico 1970 – Juanito


Image credit: FIFA

A young boy — decked out in a ‘MEXICO 70’ sombrero — who goes by the name Juanito, played host to the second World Cup. The creator, Juan Gonzalez Martinez, an advertising graphic designer who tried to capture the fun spirit of football with Juanito's carefree image. His name is the diminutive of “Juan", a common name in Spanish.

3. West Germany 1974 – Tip and Tap

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The mascot for the 1974 World Cup, held in Germany, was Tip and Tap. They were two boys wearing Germany’s jerseys with black and blonde hair, respectively. On one of the jerseys, the word ‘WM’ was written and on the other was ’74’. WM was the abbreviation of ‘Weltmeisterschaft’, which means World Cup in German.

4. Argentina 1978 – Gauchito

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It was the first time that the World Cup was held in Argentina. They would go on and snag their first title, led by the impressive Mario Kempes. Gauchito was the official mascot for that year’s tournament. It is a boy wearing an Argentina jersey, a hat and Neckerchief, and a scarf playing with a football with a whip in his right hand. The attire was similar to skilled horsemen in Argentina.

Spain 1982 – Naranjito

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The mascot of the Spain 1982 World Cup was an orange, a typical fruit in Spain. The mascot donned the kit of the host's national team. Its name comes from naranja, Spanish for orange, and the diminutive suffix "-ito".

6. Mexico 1986 – Pique

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Mexico holds the record of having the shortest gap between hosting two World Cups. (They hosted their second World Cup 16 years after the first one.) With their first mascot, Juanito, Mexico brought their creativity up another notch — by making jalapeno, their traditional vegetable, the mascot. Pique sported a black moustache, donning the Mexico national jersey and a sombrero. The name comes from picante, which means spice peppers and sauces in Mexico.

7. Italy 1990 – Ciao (the Lego Man)


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The 1990 World Cup’s mascot, Ciao, was named after the Italian greeting. It was by far, the first and, to date, only mascot without a face. The designers opted for a stick figure in the colours of the Italian tri-colour, with a football for a head.

8. United States 1994 – Striker (the World Cup pup)

Image credit: FIFA

There was another revolutionary development in 1994, when the United States' public voted for their tournament’s mascot. Their choice was Striker, a dog kitted out in the hosts’ red white and blue, with the competition logo displayed on his shirt.

9. France 1998 – Footix

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France drew inspiration from World Cup Willie by opting for a recognised national emblem in the shape of a traditional Gallic rooster. One of the more colourful mascots to date, Footix’s bold blue body, red head and bright yellow beak made him a colourful addition to the quadrennial tournament.

10. South Korea and Japan 2002 – Ato, Kaz and Nik

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The mascots of the South Korea/Japan 2002 World cup were an orange, a purple, and a blue (respectively) futuristic, computer-generated figurines. Collectively, members of a team of "Atmoball" (a fictional football-like sport) — Ato is the coach while Kaz and Nik are players. (Fun fact: The colours, interestingly, bear no connection to the flags of Japan or South Korea.)

11. Germany 2006 – Goleo and Pille

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For the 2006 World Cup in Germany, a lion was selected as the official mascot. Named Goleo, he wore the German national jersey worn by the national team between the 1950s and 1970s. His sidekick was Pille, who was a talking football. The name Galeo is an amalgamation of Goal and Leo. However, it was criticised by many people in Germany over the choice of animal, with the eagle being the preferred choice which is also on the German coat of arms.

12. South Africa 2010 – Zakumi

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Zakumi is a leopard, a common animal found in South Africa. Donned green hair, wearing a shirt saying “South Africa 2010”, and matching green shorts. Zakumi's green and gold colours represent the official colours for the South African national sports' team. Inspired by the initials “ZA'' for South Africa (Zuid-Afrika), and "Kumi", a word that means "ten" in various African languages.

13. Brazil 2014 – Fuleco

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Fuleco was the very first Brazilian three-banded armadillo to be born in the new millennium. The name Fuleco is a fusion of the words "futebol" and "ecologia". The shell that protects him represents the natural beauty of Brazil. The blue tones represent the sky and clear waters in and around Brazil.

14. Russia 2018 – Zabivaka

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The mascot of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup was a wolf with a name that translates from Russian as “The Goalscorer”. A wolf who radiates fun, charm and confidence, Zabivaka wears red shorts with a hole for his tail and a blue and white T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Russia 2018". The colour combination is that of the Russian team, with the mascot being selected via internet voting — in which more than one million Russians took part. With his colourful personality, the likeable wolf was an asset to the tournament and captured the hearts of the world.

15. Qatar 2022 – La'eeb


Image credit: FIFA

La’eeb is an Arabic word meaning super-skilled player. Its design is a sympathetic anthropomorphic ghutra, a traditional male headscarf in Arab culture. La’eeb is adventurous, fun and curious and encourages everyone to believe in themselves, as “Now is Everything”. La'eeb became an internet meme and was compared to other characters, most notably Casper. (Fun fact: The term "ghost" reached the top positions of Twitter's Trending Topics.)

What DTC World can do for you?

Promotional merchandise has proven to be one of the most impactful strategies to garner better outreach for brands. Looking at the designs and creativity in the World Cup merchandise, they have certainly evolved over the years. Nonetheless, the idea remains. In product marketing, storytelling helps establish relationships with your customers — and there’s no greater commercial attraction for football enthusiasts than that of a football jersey.

Let’s take a look at some of the sports promotional merchandise and gift ideas we have in store to ignite your brand's presence — and create powerful results for your marketing efforts.

Beer and football almost always go hand-in-hand. Cheer to your favourite teams while enjoying your favourite alcoholic beverage in this innovative colour-changing glass. (DTC World produced this glass for Heineken, as a promotional giveaway item for Tiger Crystal beer.).


Kitchenware as redemption gifts is one of the most impactful promotional gift ideas that brands go for to express their appreciation for their loyal customers. This World Cup-themed ceramic dining set is certainly up for grabs as a collectible item among ardent fans.


Promote your brand through custom designed beer towers that present a stylistic yet versatile character you wish to showcase to your consumers. A brilliant and effective communication tool for alcohol brands alike at pubs and restaurants., among others.


Bring in the fun with a little dart game! With a prominent space to promote your brand’s logo, this dart board set is going to create some buzz, whether it’s at the restaurants, pubs, or cafes alike.


Keep your drinks cold, your snacks fresh — and the good vibes coming with this custom printed cooler bag. Perfect for any outdoor outings, picnics, or when you’re heading to the stadium, cheering for your favourite team!


Practical and sustainable promotional gift items are very much adored by consumers today. Opt for eco-friendly material when designing your promotional gifts can further strengthen your engagement with your customers, too. Instead of a regular bottle opener, why not go for a bamboo-inspired one? (The World Cup season may have just unlocked the beer festivities in a sustainable way.)


Enjoy your favourite alcoholic beverage without having to worry about the ice cubes diluting your drink. Don't these soccer ball-inspired whiskey stones look cool in the glass? Alternatively, you could also make an impressive host with these soccer ball ice cube moulds.


A good blend of comfort, utility and style, a good bucket hat is suitable for just any occasion. With ample space to be creative with your preferred design and a personalised logo to showcase your brand, this reversible bucket hat is trendy and truly convenient.


(TL–DR) One of the must-haves at a soccer party is none other than the cheering kit! Get your brand noticed through these cheering props that include inflatable cheering sticks, hand clappers, head bands, sports towels.


These two items will surely come in handy when the weather gets a little too hot. Capture your brand’s visual in a microfibre sports towel, or incorporate your brand logo on this portable hand-held cooling fan.


Cool and practical as it looks. This personalised Tiger foldable chair is a sure head-turner at any soccer or sports event. Convenient to carry around as you move, why not enjoy the game in a most comfy way.

Aren't these promotional merchandise ideas already building up the hype even before the game starts?

The more personalised the gift is, the more exclusive it gets, the stronger the brand loyalty. In DTC World, we are dedicated to thinking in the best interest of your brand and business — that's why we made it our mission to find the best suited gift ideas to complement your marketing campaigns.


Whether it's iconic partners in crimes or unbeatable superheroes or likeable villains, we are able to customise fresh-looking designs and unique concepts for your ultimate licensed character merchandise. Get more sneak peeks and inspirations for licensed promotional gifts to impress your customers, on our blog.

Closing Thoughts

Soccer and sports events are very commercially attractive to brands. Like music, sports is a universal language that has the ability to unite people — regardless origins, cultures, religions and customs. To be part of such sentiment and message that echoes a force for good, brands are seen in a positive light among consumers. Along with the huge brand awareness that promotional products create, they also further solidify the relationship your brand has with your customers — which ultimately leads to increase in brand loyalty, brand appreciation and engagement.

If you enjoy the World Cup-inspired promotional merchandise we have shared with you in this blog, or there is something in this article which piques your interest to explore further, get in touch with us for more insights into licensed merchandise to spruce your marketing efforts.

Here's more ideas and inspirations for you to score big with your promotional campaigns:

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A Rainbow of Possibilities: How Colourful Characters Can Add a Dazzling Touch to Your Licensed Merchandise and Marketing Campaigns
Rolling Thunder: How a Superhero Makes Your Marketing and Promotional Gifts Marvel-ous

#DYK: Fascinating fun facts about character merchandising