Official World Cup sponsors earning more recognition

Recognition of official World Cup sponsors seems to be on the rise as the tournament moves into the quarterfinals today (2 July), with Adidas generating the most buzz.

The sports brand, which came second to Nike in the last survey thanks to Nike’s “Write the Future” viral, has the most buzz surrounding it in the week ending 13 June.

However, Nielsen says part of Adidas’ increased buzz levels were due to discussions around the controversial official ball of the World Cup – the Jabulani, spearheaded by several goalkeeping gaffes including Robert Green’s fateful error against the USA that week.

Nielsen says the ball accounted for 8% of all English-language messages related to the World Cup.

“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,” says Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of digital strategy at Nielsen.

Budweiser also overcame a pre-tournament ambush from Carlsberg to assert itself as the most highly buzzed beer brand tied to the World Cup, despite Carlsberg investing heavily in advertising to co-incide with England’s first game.

Buzz share for the official beer of the World Cup climbed to 4.9% as it overtook Carlsberg, whose share fell to 2.4%.

Other official sponsors who enjoyed a noticeable increase in World Cup buzz included Hyundai/Kia (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.

“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,” says Blackshaw.

The study was conducted by NM Incite, a Nielsen McKinsey company and analysed English language World Cup-related messages on blogs, message boards, groups, video and image sites – including Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

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