Adidas, Budweiser Trump Ambushers After Start of Cup

Official Sponsors Overtake Nike, Carlsberg as Fans Focus on the Field

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Much virtual ink has been spilled over how the viral potential of online video can be a potent ambush-marketing tool at big events such as the World Cup. But new research from Nielsen on the 2010 FIFA World Cup shows that, while web video can be a potent ambush tool in the run-up period to a major event, it's a lot less effective than an official sponsorship once the games start.

Since the World Cup started, FIFA partner Adidas has 25.1% of the total tournament buzz.
Since the World Cup started, FIFA partner Adidas has 25.1% of the total tournament buzz.
During the month prior to the soccer tournament, NM Incite measured the conversation about World Cup sponsor brands and their major challengers on message boards, social-media sites and blogs, and found that some non-sponsors, such as Nike and Carlsberg, were more discussed than competitors Adidas and Budweiser -- despite nine-figure checks written to be an official sponsor to the event.

But then a funny thing happened: The games started and consumers became far more engaged with the action on the pitch, often drenched in sponsor brands, than with any online video. Since the tournament started, official sponsors have retaken control of the conversation surrounding the tournament.

Nike, Carlsberg lose leads
Nike -- fueled by its wildly successful "Write the Future" video, viewed on the web more than 20 million times -- scored a full 30% share of online sponsor discussion in the month leading up to the tournament, more than double what rival Adidas had to show for its official sponsorship.

But since the action started, Adidas has overtaken Nike, scoring 25.1% of the total tournament buzz to Nike's 19.4%. (Don't cry too much for Nike, as it still has the second-largest share of buzz among all brands.)

Likewise, Budweiser trailed Carlsberg during the run-up period, failing to even register in the top 10 most-discussed brands, while Carlsberg rode a web-video-driven push to a 3.9% share of the conversation. In the two weeks since the games started, however, Budweiser has outbuzzed Carlsberg two-to-one, garnering a 4.9% share of the online conversation compared to its rival's 2.4% share.

And while Pepsi's soccer-themed "Oh Africa" music video is well past the million-view mark online, Coke has thoroughly dominated the conversation both before and during the tournament, scoring a 11.8% to 2.5% share advantage during the run up that's been mostly consistent. (Coke leads 11% to 2.8% since the action started.)

No 'conversational guarantee'
"Sponsorship still matters, but it's far from a 'conversational' guarantee," said Pete Blackshaw, exec VP-digital strategy at Nielsen. "The rest really depends on variables like timing, creativity, rebelliousness and the 'talk worthiness' of the campaign, and a combination of brand readiness and agility. Readiness is a product of how well prepared the brand is to capitalize on early buzz via their website, Facebook fan page, PR efforts and the like."

HIGHEST SHARE OF ONLINE WORLD CUP BUZZ IN FIRST TWO WEEKS*
(Sponsors vs. Competitors)
Brand Type % Share of Official and Competitor Buzz*
1 Adidas FIFA Partner 25.1%
2 Nike Non-affiliated Competitor 19.4%
3 Coca-Cola FIFA Partner 11.0%
4 Sony FIFA Partner 9.8%
5 Budweiser FIFA World Cup� Sponsor 4.9%
6 Hyundai/Kia FIFA Partner 4.7%
7 Visa FIFA Partner 4.7%
8 McDonald's FIFA World Cup� Sponsor 4.2%
9 Pepsi Non-affiliated Competitor 2.8%
10 Carlsberg Non-affiliated Competitor 2.4%
Source: The Nielsen Company

*Share of online buzz across the 10 sponsors/partners with a global footprint and two of their major competitors in English language messages related to the World Cup from 11th -25th June, 2010.

HIGHEST SHARE OF ONLINE PRE-WORLD CUP BUZZ*
(Sponsors vs. Competitors)
Brand Type % Share of Official and Competitor Buzz*
1 Nike Non-affiliated competitor 30.2%
2 Adidas FIFA Partner 14.4%
3 Coca-Cola FIFA Partner 11.8%
4 Sony FIFA Partner 11.7%
5 Visa FIFA Partner 7.3%
6 Carlsberg Non-affiliated competitor 3.9%
7 McDonald's FIFA World Cup� Sponsor 2.8%
8 Pepsi Non-affiliated competitor 2.5%
9 Hyundai/Kia FIFA Partner 2.4%
10 Panasonic Non-affiliated competitor 1.9%
Source: The Nielsen Company

*Share of online buzz across the 10 sponsors/partners with a global footprint and two of their major competitors in English language messages related to the World Cup from May 7 - June 6, 2010.

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