Major advertisers push World Cup sponsorship

05 April 2010

NEW YORK: Advertisers such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Coca-Cola and Hyundai-Kia are seeking to leverage their sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to connect with consumers in various markets.

A range of corporate partners, including Nike and Adidas, the sportswear giants, McDonald's, the fast-food chain, and Visa, the finance brand, have been attracted to the competition, which will be held in South Africa in June and July this year.

Powerade, owned by Coca-Cola, is the "official sports drink" of the World Cup, which it will use as the springboard for its first global multimedia campaign, crossing TV, print, online and outdoor.

"Major sporting events, big-event television, are a wonderful platform,” Mark Greatrex, svp for global still beverages at Coca-Cola, said. "We are making a big deal of the FIFA endorsement in every touch point."

The brand's "Keep Playing" initiative will embrace countries that deliver over 90% of its volume sales, ranging from the US, Mexico and Brazil to South Korea, the UK and Germany.

Many of the ads featuring in this effort will carry a tagline stating Powerade was "chosen by FIFA to hydrate the 2010 FIFA World Cup players."

With regard to digital, Powerade has created new content for its YouTube channel, which will also be used to promote its involvement in the tournament.

Elsewhere, it has manufactured branded bottles for use by players during matches, and taken up pitch-side billboards in the stadiums hosting games.

"Part of the strategy is to build up the sports credentials of Powerade," Greatrex added. "As we look at the sports-drink category out over the next ten years, there's a lot of untapped potential."

Anheuser-Busch InBev is the "official beer supplier" of the World Cup, and has developed a number of communications programmes tied to this alliance.

One of these schemes, promoting Budweiser, the company's biggest beer brand, is a web-based reality series in the style of Big Brother.

The "Bud House" will contain 16 men and 16 women, who will be chosen through competitions run by individual brands, with these consumers appearing in "webisodes" each day during the event.

"This is American Idol meets Survivor meets football. Being a digital campaign means we can connect with more consumers in more countries with a depth that is unprecedented," Chris Burggraeve, AB InBev's cmo, said.

More broadly, the company will utilise its connection with the tournament to champion lines including Brahma in Brazil, Harbin in China, Hasseröder in Germany and Jupiler in Belgium and Holland.

"It's a win for FIFA because their rights are connecting in a relevant way, it's a win for brands that can now really bring the property to fans, it's a win for us because we're getting a higher return on investment," said Burggraeve.

Hyundai-Kia, the automaker, has taken on the status of the exclusive global automotive sponsor of the World Cup, having previously placed a particular emphasis on this sort of arrangement in the US.

Earlier this year, the Korean firm linked its brand with the coverage of the Super Bowl shown on CBS and the broadcast of the Oscars on ABC.

In a similar fashion, the organisation will be the only operator from the automotive industry to sponsor World Cup matches on ABC and ESPN, a deal which extends to print, online and radio as well as TV.

Christopher J. Perry, the interim head of marketing at Hyundai Motor America, said it was "reaping a lot of benefits" from having "big voices in big places".

Data sourced from New York Times/Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff