Who won the FIFA World Cup?

06 Aug 2018

By: Sport Industry Group

Sports research agency YouGov/SMG Insight has revealed exclusively to Sport Industry Group data analysing the performance of some of FIFA’s key World Cup sponsors in the UK.

adidas v Nike

Although more or less level-pegging on the field, with Nike providing the kits of 11 teams and adidas 12, the German manufacturer took an off-field advantage into the tournament as FIFA’s official partner.

And according to YouGov/SMG Insight’s figures, that strategy looks to have paid off in terms of influencing football fans, with the adidas brand enjoying consistently higher Purchase Intent and Consideration over the course of the tournament.

Although the picture among the key millennial market was more volatile, consideration for adidas peaked for longer than it did for Nike, suggesting that the German brand’s messaging hit the spot for this audience more consistently than its competitor’s.

But as Charlie Dundas, YouGov/SMG Insight’s commercial director, also explained the results were never likely to be simply about profile.

“No two campaigns are created equally and our data suggests that adidas just achieved better engagement with their messaging. Over the course of the World Cup, UK football fans were, in fact, around 25% more aware of Nike ads than adidas ones – it’s just that the Nike ads didn’t translate into consumers wanting to buy more Nike apparel.

“In contrast, adidas’s combination of ambassadors, creative and sheer visibility seem to have earned more traction. The question now is how that translates into sales for the brands.”

Visa v Mastercard

YouGov/SMG Insight also examined the fortunes of FIFA Partner Visa, comparing perceptions of the brand to those of former World Cup sponsor, Mastercard. Mastercard, whose campaign to link goals scored to donations of meals to the hungry attracted widespread opprobrium, also harnessed World Cup legend Pele as it bid to move closer to the sport. But as the chart below shows, it was again the official sponsor which reaped the benefits of association.

Budweiser v Heineken

With beer brands Budweiser and Heineken duking it out over football with their FIFA and UEFA relationships respectively, YouGov/SMG Insight’s data demonstrates the difficulty of sliding between official partners, with the US brand out-performing Heineken on Purchase Intent as the tournament got started.