Ambush marketing dominates World Cup searches

The majority of official World Cup sponsors are failing to capture the public’s attention, according to the latest Experian Hitwise World Cup Brand Search Index.

Australian World Cup football team
Australian World Cup football team

With the exception of Kia, all of the tournament’s sponsors have seen their levels of internet searches slump, despite having their logos emblazoned at every match.

Instead of the sponsors who have paid millions to be a part of the world’s largest tournament, brands who sponsor individual teams appear to be the most popular companies searched for.

Qantas, the official airline of the Australian team, saw its searches increase by 154.5% between the week ending 26 June and the week ending 3 July, while the tournament’s official airline South African Airways fell by 29.3% – possibly driven by fans looking to head home after being knocked out.

Other brands that have seen a surge in the week include former World Cup sponsor Gillette, which saw searches rise by 20% despite not being associated with the event this year, while Hertz, which sponsors the Wimbledon tennis championships which were also taking place that week, saw searches rise by 11.1%.

England’s official airline Virgin Atlantic and Germany’s official airline Lufthansa also had a good week with search increases of between 6.5% and 11.1%, most likely related to the England v Germany fixture that week. Marks & Spencer who provided the England team’s suits, also benefited with a 6.5% increase in searches.

“We’ve seen a lot of change in the online performance of key World Cup brands over the last few weeks. Much like the competition itself, no one brand has asserted itself as a clear favourite. Some of the bigger brands have haven’t scored that many online goals during the tournament. Those companies who used digital marketing to quickly adapt their World Cup strategies who will be the ones most likely to emerge as winners,” says Experian Hitwise’s director of research, Robin Goad.

The research comes a week after Nielsen reported that recognition of official World Cup sponsors seems to be on the rise,with Adidas generating the most buzz in the opening weeks of the tournament.

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