World Cup Ambushed!

I don’t know if you have noticed but the World Cup has been occupying most of the television the last few weeks, im not complaining, football on TV every day is how it should be, since coming home and watching nothing but football for the past few weeks something stood out for me…sponsors.

Now take a minute and think of brands you have seen over the World Cup, name 3 or 4? Bet there not the official sponsors, this is ambush marketing at its finest.


Before I explain, Nike are the masters of this technique! Paddy power are too!

Ambush marketing is a marketing strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with, and therefore capitalize on, a particular event without paying any sponsorship fee which in this case would be extortionate.

I studied this at University where consumers are drawn to brands that don’t pay the extraordinary fees others do to get brand awareness; it’s a technique not many can truely master!

Going back to my question, brands I think of from the World Cup are; Fosters, Nike, and Beats by Dre, now none of these are actual sponsors of the World Cup!

The actual sponsors are: Coca- Cola, adidas, Budweiser, Sony, Visa, McDonalds, Kia, Emirates, Continental to name a few.


So what does the research say?

The research project involved the business asking members of its real-time panels in the UK, US and Brazil to identify sponsors. Respondents were asked to pick official World Cup sponsors from a list of 38 brands, both official sponsors and their non-sponsor rivals.

Two-fifths (38%) of UK, US and Brazilian consumers mistakenly think MasterCard is a World Cup sponsor, with rival credit card brands Visa scoring just 4% higher recognition at 42%, according to research from GlobalWebIndex.

Other brands not officially linked to the tournament but which scored high recognition as “sponsors”, included Carlsberg in the UK. Budweiser is the official World Cup beer sponsor.

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Non-sponsor Pepsi, which has been running football-themed advertising, scored the highest awareness as a World Cup “sponsor” among US consumers. Nike, which  launched a humorous five-minute animated epic, was selected as a sponsor by nearly a third of UK and US consumers.

Meanwhile, a fifth of UK consumers also thought that Samsung is a FIFA sponsor.

MasterCard has not sponsored the World Cup since 2006, when it discontinued its 16-year association with the tournament.

On a more positive note for those brands forking out millions of pounds on sponsorship of the Brazil World Cup, Coca-Cola, a sponsor since 1978, and Adidas, a sponsor since 1970, gained the highest recognition as World Cup commercial partners.Fabregas-Pepsi-pepsi-2251258-1024-768

Coke’s association proved the most resonant for consumers, with two-thirds of UK and US consumers selecting the brand.

So what draws you to the brands that actually don’t sponsor the World Cup, the bright yellow Nike football boots? Neymar appearing on every other advert there is? The catchy adverts showing beach volley ball, funny cartoons or social media ‘buzz’?


For me all of the above, for example Nike, they put themselves IN the game, the extremely high visible boots that everyone seems to be wearing, they have managed to integrate themselves within the World Cup, like they did in past Olympic games and other sporting events. The Nike logo visible or not becomes irrelevant when people associate the bright yellow colour to Nike football boots. That combined with their perfectly placed adverts places their products at the forefront of peoples minds!


So yes, I think ambush marketing definitely works, why would clever brands pay so much to be official sponsors when they can still get awareness and recognition just the same? On the other hand it can also back fire, association to certain brands/services etc can give you a bad image, damage your reputation and of course really p*** off those who fork out millions to sponsor the event!

What are your thoughts on ambush marketing? Do you think it works, do you even agree, I’d love to know!


On your bike Coca Cola!

Hurrah! Finally something marketing related. Firstly apologies if you dont like marketing, it’s mostly golf, actually.. all golf, so as a one off i thought id chat about something different.


Coca-Cola is renowned for its innovative marketing, and like so many others I am usually a big fan! They are creative, fun and most of all grab peoples attention.

One of there more successful campaigns was the  ‘2ndLives’ initiative where empty Coke bottles gets repurposed into new, useful objects, or creating a “Bio Cooler”, which is essentially a fridge that functions without electricity.

However, this latest campaign by the soft drink brand seems more of an irony instead.

So it’s called ‘Happy Cycle’, and I’m just a little confused. Individuals were invited to ride a bike and work off their calories in exchange for a can of Coke. Hmmmmm. Seems a little silly doesn’t it? Burn off calories to be rewarded with something sugary and full of calories?

At the beginning of the video (see below), the brand poses a question, “A Coke used to cost 5 cents. But what if a 12-oz Coke cost 140 calories?” This is subsequently followed up with the information that it would take you 23 minutes to burn off 140 calories if you weighed 140 pounds.

This inevitably forces the limelight on the fact that you probably shouldn’t be drinking Coca-Cola in the first place, which surely lends support to detractors of the brand.

Are they really trying to jump on the healthy band wagon?

For me that seems like too much hard work for one can of coke? And if I was to exercise I wouldn’t want to ruin the hard work by refuelling with the sugary drink? Now I’m partial to a bottle every now and then, especially in summer, and I can see where they are trying to go with this campaign… but still.coca-cola-life

This will definitely be part of their new initiatives, and something we will most probably be seeing more of due to their new launch of Coca-Cola Life, the first new cola drink it has rolled out into the UK market in eight years. The company said the new drink would help meet its pledges made under the UK government’s voluntary anti-obesity drive. It’s said to use ‘less sugar and have fewer calories’ experts still say it will have over 4 teaspoons of sugar… but that’s another story.

Commenters have also noted the irony and confusion of the newly-launched campaign.

One Youtuber wrote: “Poor Coca Cola. I love them as a company but all this video tells me is that it takes far too much time and work to make it worth it to enjoy a Coke when I could just have flavoured water or something much less sugary than 140 calories.”

Yet another user commented: “This ad actually shows exactly why I don’t want to drink a Coke. 23 minutes biking to cancel out a can of Coke? Lol.”

What’s your take on Coke’s ‘Happy Cycle’?

Check out the video here: