My World Cup 2010 Marketing wrap-up

Hi everyone,
The first World Cup on the African soil is over. It was a fantastic World Cup, and South Africa can be proud to pull off such a great performance! On a sport point of view, the team that was playing the best football won. It was a pleasure to watch the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Villa playing together as a team. The Dutch did not play football. De Jong could be featured in the next Karaté kid movie with Jackie Chan, and I wonder how Van Bommel did not have a red card. I said on Twitter that he represents everything I hate in football. I stick to this judgement. Anyways, football marketing-wise, I would like to share with you a wrap-up article of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Enjoy!

2010 FIFA World Cup Awards

adidas Golden Ball: Diego Forlan

adidas Golden boot: Thomas Müller (5 goals, 3 assists)

adidas Golden glove: Iker Cassillas

FIFA Fair Play award: Spain

World Cup Final man of the Match: Andres Iniesta

Best young player award: Thomas Müller

The 3 big are still…..big

adidas, Nike and Puma sent the message to the World that they are and will remain credible football brands. The 3-stripes sponsored 12 Federations in South Africa, when Nike and Puma were the kit manufacturers of respectively 9 and 7 Federations. The semi finals outlined this fact with Uruguay (Puma), Germany (adidas), Spain (adidas) and The Netherlands (Nike). They all sponsored key players that did shine for some and did not shine for others.

Immense activities of the World Cup sponsors and partners

My take is very simple: Without sponsors, there is no World Cup. Not only the $$$ they invest is significant, but they have come up with great marketing activations. They were at the front of the scene and strongly occupied the marketing space. Some activations in a nutshell:

adidas with the official matchball (regardless of the controversy), the F-50 adizero campaign, the launch of  the Jo’bulani, the World Cup final matchball. Coca-Cola launched the World Cup Trophy Tour which was a tremendous success, McDonalds kicked off the McDonalds player escort programme which will give 1,408 children from a total of 47 different countries, the chance to walk hand-in-hand onto the pitch with a player. Emirates flight attendants were handing out the gold/silver/bronze medals. Hyundai/Kia bus slogan is one of my favourite activation as it strongly engaged with the football fans.

According to a Nielsen Company survey, World Cup sponsors are clearly linked to the event in consumers mind. Great return on investment right there!

Non World Cup sponsors have not been sleeping

The Nielsen Company carried out a survey on the first 2 before World Cup starts. Nike, mainly thanks to the “write the future” campaign was identified as a World Cup sponsor or partner. This fact changed post World Cup, as adidas took the lead by being acknowledged as the World Cup sponsor in consumer’s minds.

I make a big difference between ambush marketing and good marketing integration. Non World Cup sponsors such as Puma or Nike are sponsoring football Federations, key players and are involved in several football marketing programmes. They are therefore credible football brands. They do utilise their football assets during big football events such as World Cup and Champions League. As far as I am concerned, this is not ambush marketing, but good marketing integration. I would differ a bit for Pepsi or Carlsberg that are using football players to tap into the sport, but are not succeeding to be considered as football brands (yet).

The typical ambush marketing stunt was the work of Bavaria Beer. We all saw the results with women ending up in jail. Yes, there are laws against ambush marketing, in South Africa. Pity, the marketing managers of Bavaria should know better.
This said, both FIFA sponsors and non sponsors came up with great ads worth mentioning.

20 Centres for 2010

20 Centres for 2010” is the Official Campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Its aim is to achieve positive social change through football by building twenty Football for Hope Centres for public health, education and football across Africa. The centres will address local social challenges that young people face in disadvantaged areas by helping to improve education and public health services. “20 Centres for 2010” will promote social development through football long after the final whistle of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, leaving a tangible social legacy for Africa. [Source:]

Glad to see that football goes beyond the pitch, and CSR is not a word “thrown out there” to look smart on a power point presentation. It has become reality.

Green is the key colour

When Nike launched their Federations jerseys made of recycled plastic bottle, I gave them a strong credit for this strategy. Green has been taken in great consideration in football. FIFA is following this path with the Green Goal Programme.
“The 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee of South Africa (OC), has in its preparation to host the 2010 World Cup, committed itself to adhere to sustainability principles and to promote environmental responsibility in organizing and hosting the 2010 tournament. It is from this commitment that the OC developed an environmental programme called Green Goal 2010 that encapsulates greening and raising awareness on environmental issues pertinent to hosting the 2010 event.” [Source:]

World Cup Sponsorship revenue

The revenue generated from the World Cup sponsorships have never been so high: $1.6 Billion. This number points out that the World Cup event is a very profitable asset and guarantees a significant ROI for both sides. The FIFA World Cup is 11,6 times much more profitable than the Superbowl!!

Sponsors take the door after France flop

France was the biggest flop of this World Cup on and off the pitch. Consequently, FFF sponsors didn’t feel like staying on board a sinking ship. Well, that was predictable, if you ask me.

The USA-Ghana game, crucial for US viewers

It is indeed a milestone in US football. The round of 16 game vs Ghana contributed to increasing the American audience to football. The record viewership, which includes audiences watching on ABC and Univision, surpassed the previous high of 18.1 million viewers who watched the 1994 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy.

This is in a nutshell a marketing World Cup wrap-up I wanted to share with you. As always, your thoughts are welcome!

Karl Lusbec


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