World Cup 2014: Welcome to the Non-Sponsor Main Event


Nike and Samsung may not be official sponsors of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, but that’s not stopping them from taking full advantage of the event. The pair top a new list from Unruly Media of the most-shared football/footie/futbol-related videos. In fact, non-sponsors are responsible for 54 percent of total shares.

FIFA’s official brand partners that made it into the top 11 ranking include Castrol and its “Footkhana” video; Coca-Cola, which has turned out a slew of soccer-related campaigns; Emirates Airlines; and Visa. Non-sponsor Pepsi, attempting to give its rival a run, was ranked at No. 14. Sponsors that didn’t make it into the top 10 include Budweiser (16), Sony (18), McDonald’s (20), Johnson & Johnson (24), and Kia (26).

Part of the opportunity and challenge of being a World Cup official sponsor is the event’s global appeal. According to Ad Age, 175 of Coca-Cola’s 207 markets have adapted Coke’s central campaign (see more below) for the 2014 World Cup. In comparison, only 100 markets bought into the brand’s London 2012 campaign. The higher buy-in this year is partially due to making the campaign creative relevant locally with a customizable logo.[more]

“If there’s no collaboration; very little consultation with anybody along the way; it feels too local to the host nation (and) it’s not something that they can adapt, then there, potentially, would be a temptation for markets to do their own thing,” Coca-Cola VP of global design James Sommerville commented. “Over the last two World Cups that temptation has been removed, as we become more experienced … in developing a system that everybody can adopt rather than push against.”

While many see one of the central battles of this summer’s Cup as a marketing slugfest between Nike and adidas, third wheel Puma is taking a different angle by delaying its Cup-related marketing until after it’s over.

“The World Cup is a very, very crowded environment media-wise, from credit card companies to car companies to God knows what,” said Puma Chief Executive Officer Bjorn Gulden, according to Bloomberg. “The car companies and credit-card companies have deeper pockets than we have. You die quickly.”

Non-sponsor Pepsi Max just released its latest #FutbolNow creative, directed by Idris Elba:

Another non-sponsor, Nestle, has also gotten into the World Cup spirit with a commercial from JWT Brazil that encourages kids to get active—after fueling up with its Nescau drink, of course. The “get active” theme was carried over to the brand’s bid to turn stationary bikes into street bikes, all powered by Nescau-drinking kids.

Below, more of Coca-Cola’s World Cup storytelling: