According to the study, which was conducted June 12 when the World Cup officially kicked off, via a real-time, online panel of consumers in Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S. by GlobalWebIndex, MasterCard ranked only five percentage points behind this year's official credit card sponsor, Visa.
The survey, which also shows strong sponsorship association for other major brands not officially sponsoring the games -- including Nike, Samsung, Puma, American Express, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, etc. -- is consistent with similar sponsorship and ad recall studies from other big live sporting events such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics showing misattribution to non-sponsors.
In the case of MasterCard, some of the association could be residual, because the brand was a long-time sponsor of the World Cup from 1990 through 2006, but some of the attribution is coming simply from brands running soccer-related campaigns and promotions that are not officially associated with the FIFA event.
“Brands that have been running heavily futbol-themed campaigns -- despite having no official link with the tournament -- were also picked as sponsors by significant minorities,” the GlobalWebIndex report found. “Nike, for example, with its ads featuring Ronaldo, Rooney, Neymar et al. -- was selected by nearly a third of people in the U.K. and U.S., as well as over 40% in Brazil. Similarly, a fifth in the U.K. and a third in Brazil believe that Samsung is a sponsor, no doubt due to its ads in which Ronaldo and Rooney appear once more, this time alongside Messi.”
GlobalWebIndex said it will conduct another wave of the research about sponsorship awareness on the final day of the World Cup to see how fans’ associations trended during the course of the tournament.
“This will help us put a real-time value on the ROI that comes from sponsoring such a major, worldwide event,” the report said.