Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Will the real #WorldCup sponsors please stand up?

It appears that 38% of consumers in the UK, US and Brazil are mistaken in thinking that Mastercard is a World Cup sponsor according to research from GlobalWebIndex.  The genuine sponsor, Visa, scored just a marginally higher recognition at 42%.

The confusion doesn't seem to be restricted to financial products.  Other brands such as Carlsberg, Nike and Pepsi also performed well, although not as highly as the genuine sponsors Budweiser, Adidas and Coca-Cola.

These findings raise some important issues for marketers engaged in sponsorship of major international events.

On one level the confusion is understandable.  Let's face it, we're used to seeing these brands regularly paraded as sponsors.  Equally, many will have launched advertising programmes designed to appeal to soccer fans. Let's call it the 'ripple effect' - we simply assume their involvement because we're accustomed to seeing it or we closely associate them with our enjoyment of the event.

But equally, is sponsorship such a blunt tool, demanding an activation budget as great as the cost of the sponsorship itself, that it's value is diminished?  The question for brands considering sponsorship in their marketing mix is whether their money might be better spent elsewhere.