Coca-Cola has topped the list of brands when it comes to the performance of World Cup sponsors and their competitors before and after the tournament, according to a new study.
The research, undertaken by Millward Brown’s Consumer Neuroscience practice, was designed to measure the “instinctive feelings” of consumers towards the World Cup and brands, using the speed of reaction to questions as a test of the link between brand and event.
Around 5,000 consumers in the UK and Brazil undertook the online test, which revealed that the soft drinks brand was not only the most recognized sponsor in both markets but also the fastest to be recalled.
Coke was recognized as an event sponsor after the world cup by 81 per cent of consumers in the UK and 92 per cent in Brazil, with consumers associating the brand with the tournament 52 per cent faster than average in Brazil and 34 per cent faster than average in the UK.
The research also highlights that while non-sponsor brands and those with an association with other football competitions, such as Nike and MasterCard, scored highly before the event, after the tournament they were outscored by official sponsors Visa and Adidas.
Visa also massively boosted consumer positivity towards its brand with its sponsorship activity, rising by 300 per cent in the UK, while MasterCard’s emotional bond, which was initially higher in both markets decreased as the tournament went on.
“This research shows that when brands try to piggy-back major events like the World Cup, they are not guaranteed success,” said Sarah Walker, global director at Millward Brown’s Neuromarketing practice.
“The confusion about brand affiliations that existed among consumers of these two passionate footballing nations was very high before the event. But the post-event wave of research showed that by its conclusion, consumers had intuitively grasped who was a genuine sponsor. It was these sponsors who then gained the most in terms of feelings of positivity.”
The news, however, was less positive for Fifa and the World Cup organisers, with the strongest negative associations around corruption and dishonesty.
In Brazil more than 90 per cent of those who took part complained about delays, use of public funds to build stadiums and ticket prices. Corruption scored 75 per cent and was the fastest and most intuitive association in the host market.
In the UK, the expense of the event was the highest negative association at 76 per cent (and also the fastest), with the disappointment over the England team’s performance rating at 69 per cent.