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Soccer WC sponsors recover from ambush marketing

MUMBAI: Last month, Nielsen had reported that Nike ‘ambushed‘ its way into the World Cup conversation by producing a popular soccer-themed ad that spread virally across the online community.


The company‘s efforts in the days and weeks leading up to the World Cup pushed its competitor and official tournament partner Adidas into the background of online conversations.
 
Since the start of the opening kickoff, though, Adidas has reasserted itself at the top of World Cup brand dialogue. When looking at the top 10 official sponsors and their major competitors, a follow-up study by NM Incite, a Nielsen McKinsey Company, found that in the first two weeks of the tournament Adidas overtook Nike as the top brand. Adidas buzz accounted for 25.1 per cent share of World Cup buzz online compared to 14.4 per cent before the event. Nike, meanwhile, dropped from 30.2 per cent to 19.4 per cent.


Part of Adidas‘ increased buzz levels were due to discussions around the controversial official ball of the World Cup - the Jabulani. For the week ending 13 June, which included the first three days of the tournament, the ball accounted for eight per cent of all English-language messages related to the World Cup.


Nielsen executive VP of digital strategy Pete Blackshaw says, "Half the game in buzz is fanning the flames. The Adidas football Facebook page, for instance, is now up to over a million fans and they are dropping new content several times a day, all while the average post is generating upwards of 100 comments. At the end of the day, brands need to keep the buzz ball in the air as long as possible - sponsored or otherwise."
 
Budweiser, too, overcame a pre-tournament ambush from Carlsberg to assert itself as the most highly buzzed beer brand tied to the World Cup. Buzz share for the official beer of the World Cup climbed to 4.9 per cent as it overtook Carlsberg, whose share fell to 2.4 per cent.


Other official sponsors who enjoyed a noticeable increase in World Cup buzz included Hyundai/Kia (from 2.4 to 4.7 per cent) and McDonald‘s (2.8 to 4.2 per cent). The overall share of buzz for the 10 official World Cup partners/sponsors increased from 52 to 66 per cent since the start of the tournament.
 
Blackshaw says, "Sponsorship still matters, but it‘s far from a ‘conversational‘ guarantee. For big events like the World Cup and Olympics, you can always expect a modest ‘echo effect‘ from any level of paid or sponsorship investment, but that‘s just the foot in the door. The rest really depends on variables like timing, creativity, controversy, and a combination of brand readiness and agility."


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.


Highest share of online World Cup buzz in first two weeks

























































RankBrandTypePercentage share of official and competitor buzz
1AdidasFifa Partner25.1
2NikeNon-affiliated Competitor19.4
3Coca Cola Fifa Partner11
4SonyFifa Partner9.8
5BudweiserFifa Partner4.9
6Hyundai/KiaFifa Partner4.7
7VisaFifa World Cup Sponsor4.7
8McDonald‘sFifa World Cup Sponsor4.2
9PepsiNon-affiliated Competitor2.8
10CarlsbergNon-affiliated Competitor2.4

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