Adidas Wins Marketing Exposure At World Cup

Head butts may look violent, but it's a great way to advertise. Each time Zinedine Zidane's head butt was replayed on ABC's coverage of the World Cup final, the attack looked strangely more vicious. But perhaps falling under the all-publicity-is-good-publicity banner, the multiple replays benefited the marketer, whose logo appeared on Zidane's jersey, according to Nielsen Sports.

Adidas is in the midst of a reported $350 million deal to serve as an official World Cup sponsor that lasts through 2014.

Partly because of the confrontation, Adidas--whose logo appeared on the French team jerseys, the game ball, the referees' apparel, in-stadium billboards and next to the scoreboard in the upper part of the screen--received the most overall brand exposure during the telecast of the World Cup final on ABC. Nielsen Sports reports that the sporting-goods marketer received more than 1.2 billion impressions among adults 25-to-54, a demo that accounted for 6.2 million viewers and more than half of ABC's total viewership.



Nearly 30 percent of the impressions came from the Adidas logo on the French team and referees' uniforms. (Puma, whose logo appeared on the winning Italian team's apparel, including the uniform of the player on the other end of Zidane's hostility, fell short, because of the widespread presence of Adidas.)

But Adidas' exposure on ABC only scratches the surface of the marketing benefit it may have received from the World Cup final. In the U.S., the game was viewed by millions on Univision, the Spanish-language network, and reportedly by hundreds of millions worldwide.

But Adidas' multiple touchpoints were clearly augmented by the Zidane confrontation. Under a rundown of "how the Adidas apparel sponsorship became a success," Nielsen said: "The much talked about 'head butt' by France's star player Zinedine Zidane was shown repeatedly." That exposure continues with replays on Web sites, such as YouTube.

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