Ambush marketing just does it for Nike against World Cup sponsors

NIKE might not be a World Cup sponsor but the athletics clothing and shoe giant is the top brand online for consumers tuned into the world's biggest soccer tournament.

NIKE might not be a World Cup sponsor but the athletics clothing and shoe giant is the top brand online for consumers tuned into the world's biggest soccer tournament.

Almost one-third of the online buzz around the World Cup in the month running up to the soccer tournament was focused on Nike, twice as high as rival and official sponsor Adidas AG, according to a Nielsen Co study.

Nike was mentioned in 30,2percent of the English-language messages online tracked by Nielsen from May 7 to June 6, making it the most talked about firm in relation to the World Cup. Adidas was second at 14,4percent.

Alex Burmaster, vice-president of communications for Nielsen Alex Burmaster, said: "Social media has made ambush marketing easier, simply because of the vitality of it. Some people call it an echo chamber."

Nielsen studied English-language World Cup-related messages on blogs, message boards, groups, videos and image sites, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

It studied 10 World Cup sponsors with global footprints and 20 of their rivals that are not sponsors.

Ambush marketing is when a firm, not affiliated with an event like the World Cup or the Olympics, runs an ad campaign that links the advertiser to that event in the consumer's mind without saying the firm is a sponsor.

Fifa spends a lot of money seeking to stop ambush marketing as they derive billions of dollars from their sponsors.

In Nike's case, it created an ad dubbed Write the Future, which includes such well-known soccer players as Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. It has been viewed on YouTube more than 14million times since mid-May.

Nine of the 32 World Cup soccer teams will wear Nike kits, including the United States, compared to 12 for Adidas.

Not every sponsor came up short against rivals. Coca-Cola ranked third (11,8percent) with almost five times the mentions of PepsiCo, and Visa at fifth (7,3percent) had 15 times the tournament-related mentions as MasterCard, Nielsen said.

Sony at number four (11,7 percent) was mentioned 7 times more than Panasonic and 10 times more than Philips. - Reuters

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