Adidas nets World Cup sponsors victory

Adidas’ sponsorship blitz on the World Cup is set to bolster its dominance of the football category, where it is the market leader in terms of sales, with the company’s ties to winners Germany and a host of skilful players lifting public perception of the brand above rival FIFA sponsors. 

Adidas was the World Cup sponsorship winner, according to brand tracking data.

On the pitch, Adidas outperformed all competitors, supplying the kits to both finalists Germany and Argentina and having deals with Golden Ball winner Argentina’s Leo Messi, Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez and Golden Glove winner Germany’s Manuel Neuer.

Adidas says its is set to achieve a new record in football sales of €2bn this year as it is set to sell more than 8 million official jerseys, 1.5 million more than the previous World Cup. The bestseller is the German kit, of which it has sold more than 2 million shirts.

Herbert Hainer, Adidas Group CEO, says: “The World Cup has been an outstanding success for Adidas and clearly underlines our position as the world’s leading football brand…we were able to dominate the tournament on and off the pitch.”

Adidas’ multi-million pound “all in or nothing” marketing campaign and deals with some of the tournament’s most high-profile players spiked ad awareness by 2.4 points to 14.9 in the last 30 days, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex, a rise considered “statistically significant”.

Elsewhere, the majority of FIFA’s major partners failed to register any noticeable uplifts in positive chatter in the UK around their brands during the tournament, according to BrandIndex (see box).

Coca-Cola was the only sponsor to suffer a “statistically significant” drop in its “buzz” score – an average of the positive and negative things a consumer has heard about the brand in the last two weeks – falling 2.1 points to 6.5 over the last 30 days.

Scott Jones, vice president of marketing at OrigamiLogic, says: “The World Cup has reached critical mass as a mainstream activation platform, particularly when you consider the popularity of soccer in the US. There’s still a lot of value to be mined from sponsoring an event but the model is coming under pressure and marketers are missing a trick by not integrating their off and online channels to generate more quantifiable campaigns.”

World Cup sponsorship activation reaching critical mass may have been one of the reasons Adidas’ success during the tournament has yet to generate significant upticks in consumer perception of the wider brand.

Adidas’ teams and players may have won the on-pitch tussle with non-sponsor and rival Nike but the American business is still ahead in the eyes of consumers. Nike’s drop in buzz during the tournament still left it ahead of Adidas with a score of 7.8 to Adidas’ 6.8, despite a dismal World Cup where its Brazil team capitulated to Germany and ambassadors Wayne Rooney, Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo went home empty handed after the group stages.

Purchase intent for Nike was also higher than Adidas, although it did drop a “statistically significant” 2.7 points to 12.6 in the period.

Magdalena Kondej, head of apparel and footwear at Euromonitor, says: “Although most of the national team jerseys sales take place in the run up to World Cup and during the initial stages, sales of Brazil shirts would have likely soared domestically and internationally over the second half of the year, should Brazil [have progressed] to the final. In this respect Nike is losing some potential sales gains in fiscal 2015 alongside the sales boost the company has received to date.

“The World Cup trophy and sales boost associated with it is a relief for Adidas as it facing challenges in other areas, namely emerging market currency swings and tensions in Russia which factors heavily into Adidas’s growth plans.”

In terms of global online reach, the battle is tipped in Adidas’ favour during the World Cup. Nike began with more video hits and posts going into the tournament, according to marketing intelligence firm Origami Logic, but Adidas pulled away during the latter stages. The German business dominated Nike on YouTube with 9 million views compared to Nike’s 3 million in the last two weeks of the tournament, while it also generated 2.4 times more retweets. The difference may be due to the follower base of each brand.

The sponsorship World Cup

Source: YouGov BrandIndex

The sponsorship World Cup
Sponsor Buzz score Change in score over the past 30 days
Adidas 6.8 0.5
Sony 5.9 -1.5
Emirates 4.9 -0.2
Kia 3.9 -0.1
Visa 3.7 1
Hyundai 3.1 0.1
Johnson & Johnson 2 0.2
Budweiser 1.5 -1.1
Coke Zero -1.6 -1.5
Diet Coke -2.1 -2
Coca-Cola -6.5 -2.1
McDonald’s -7 -2



Six lessons from the 2014 World Cup for marketers

Seb Joseph

From real-time plans blending search and trending data to damage control strategies for badly behaved brand ambassadors, Brazil has been a World Cup to remember for marketers. Marketing Week picks out the top six lessons for brands to integrate into their marketing strategies.


    Leave a comment