Non-World Cup Sponsors Score Ad Buzz With Games

Nike has done its share of "ambush" marketing over the years. That is, not being an "official" sponsor of specific big sporting contests, but trying to gain marketing spin on networks, TV stations and programming not associated with the event.

It has done similar efforts around this year's World Cup. While it has gained some initial strong results, competitor and World Cup sponsor Adidas may be having the last laugh.

In June, Nielsen noted that those marketing efforts -- which glom onto World Cup-like advertising featuring soccer players and images -- were making real headway, especially in creating major "buzz" before and just after the event started. Nike placed well above Adidas, the official FIFA World Cup sponsor.

Nike had a 30.2% share of buzz versus Adidas at 14.4%, according to a study by NM Incite, a Nielsen McKinsey company. The buzz study looks at English-language World Cup-related messages on blogs, message boards, groups, video and image sites, including Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.



Now, two weeks into the big soccer tournament, Adidas has grabbed the top spot -- getting a 25.1% share of "official and competitor buzz," according to Nielsen. Nike sits in second place at a 19.4% share.

Adidas Football/Facebook

Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of digital strategy at Nielsen, says: "The Adidas football Facebook page, for instance, is now up to over 1 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."

Looking at the top 10 advertisers in share of buzz, two other non-FIFA sponsors also made the list, but well down below Nike. Pepsi landed in ninth place at a 2.8% share, and Carlsberg was in 10th place at 2.4%.

Official FIFA sponsors still got the overwhelming share of buzz, Nielsen says. Coca-Cola came in third place at 11% (well above competitor Pepsi's 2.8%). Sony was in fourth place at a 9.8% share.

Budweiser was in a similar spot to Adidas. Competitor brewer Carlsberg had the most buzz preceding the big event. Now two weeks in, Budweiser has grabbed a 4.9% share (good for fifth place) to Carlsberg 2.4%.

Nielsen says other FIFA sponsors also improved their position. Hyundai/Kia is now at a 4.7% number, up from 2.4%. The carmaker tied Visa for sixth place overall. McDonald's, in eighth place, also moved up to a 4.2% number from 2.8%.

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