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.
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.
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!