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Nike's Not a World Cup Sponsor, but It's Stealing the Show

YouGov Survey Suggests Athlete Relationships and 'Write the Future' Campaign Providing Brand Lift

By Published on . 17

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Here's one more sign that Nike's epic "Write the Future" is fast becoming one of the most successful ambush-marketing efforts in history.

According to a YouGov BrandIndex survey of consumer perception in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, Nike has benefited from the FIFA World Cup more than any other brand despite not being an official sponsor of the event.

The footwear and apparel behemoth saw the largest uptick in positive consumer perceptions among measured brands in the U.S. and the U.K., and it placed fourth in Germany, according to the BrandIndex survey. Nike has direct relationships with many star athletes competing in the World Cup, and it is using them in its TV and web video campaign, which appeared online three weeks before the World Cup began.

The survey asked 5,000 people daily in each country, "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?"

In the U.S., the brands that saw the top increases in positive buzz were Nike, which is not a World Cup sponsor; ESPN and ABC, which show World Cup matches; and Sony and Adidas, which are official sponsors. In the U.K., Nike led again, followed by official sponsors Visa, Sony, Hyundai and Budweiser. In Germany, Coca-Cola scored the biggest increase on the strength of a highly integrated global campaign built around soccer celebrations, followed by Emirates, Adidas, Nike and Continental.

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