On June 18, I wrote an article on how non World Cup sponsors are linking their brand to the biggest football event. Consumer’s awareness on Nike as a World Cup partner significantly increased. I based my sources on a survey The Nielsen Company carried out from May 7th to June 6th 2010, therefore before World Cup starts.
NM Incite, Nielsen Mc Kinsey Company, issued a follow up survey from June 11-25th*, and the results is worth looking at. In fact, the World Cup sponsors are now trusting the VIP seats of having their brands associated to the FIFA World Cup.
In the “Nike wrote its future” article, I pointed out that although not being a FIFA Sponsor, Nike managed to link its brand to the World Cup. This achievement is strongly due to many elements. The “write the future” marketing campaign contributed to a huge online buzz. On field, Nike sponsored 9 Federations during the World Cup** with key players such as Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Drogba regardless of their performances (which were poor). Another element to consider is Nike positioning itself as the football brand caring for the environment.
However, since World Cup started on June 11, adidas recovered and positioned itself at the top of the World Cup brand recognition. Indeed a follow up survey from The Nielsen Company (from June 11th-25th) points out that in the first two weeks of the tournament adidas overtook Nike as the top brand. “Adidas buzz accounted for 25.1% share of World Cup buzz online compared to 14.4% before the event. Nike, meanwhile, dropped from 30.2% to 19.4%.”
Ironically, the Jabulani controverse strongly contributed to this recovering. The first week of the World Cup, 8% of all english World Cup related messages were about the matchball. This said, adidas sponsored 12 Federations in South Africa, is the official matchball supplier, launched a very well received UMU campaign about unity and diversity, benefits from ad boards exposure, and sponsors world class players Lionel Messi, Villa and Robben to name a few. Those elements did play a key role.
Pepsi also did some great efforts to associate its brand to the World Cup. The Pepsi ad launched before World Cup starring Henry, Messi, Kaka, Lampard and Drogba was a big success. However, the official World Cup beverage brand, Coca-Cola received more football apraisal than its competitor. Not only Coca-Cola did launch a cool ad celebrating……football celebrations, but Coke also executed a fantastic World Cup Trophy Tour worldwide.
The survey also emphasised on the fact that other official sponsors managed, with smart marketing activations, to link their brand and image to the FIFA World Cup. Hyundai/Kia for instance (from 2.4% to 4.7%) and McDonald’s (2.8% to 4.2%). The overall share of buzz for the 10 official World Cup partners/sponsors increased from 52% to 66% since the start of the tournament.
|HIGHEST SHARE OF ONLINE WORLD CUP BUZZ IN FIRST TWO WEEKS*
(Sponsors vs. Competitors)
|Rank||Brand||Type||% Share of Official and Competitor Buzz*|
|7||Visa||FIFA World Cup™ Sponsor||4.7%|
|8||McDonald’s||FIFA World Cup™ Sponsor||4.2%|
|Source: NM Incite, A Nielsen McKinsey Company*Share of online buzz across the 10 sponsors/partners with a global footprint and two of their major competitors in English language messages related to the World Cup from 11th -25th June 2010|
Bottom line is that sponsorship is vital for big sporting events. However, being a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics is NOT a guarantee for marketing success and significant return on investment. I would even say that creativity, inovation and smartness must be a priority for sponsors, as it is proven that their competitors are not asleep!
** Although Umbro belongs to the Nike Group, I do not count the Umbro brand within the Nike ones.
* The NM Incite follow-up study compared the share of online buzz between World Cup sponsors and their major competitors in relation to the World Cup in the run up to the event (month-long period ending June 6th) and during the first two weeks of the tournament (11th -25th June). English language World Cup-related messages on blogs, message boards, groups, video and image sites – including Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter – were monitored for the study.