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Non-Sponsors Generating Majority of World Cup Online Ad Shares

  |  June 26, 2014   |  Comments

Brands not officially affiliated with the World Cup have generated 71 percent of the online shares so far, beating out sponsors such as Visa and McDonald's.

Almost three-quarters (71.2 percent) of the online shares generated by World Cup ads have come from non-sponsors, according to new data released today by Unruly.

The marketing technology platform found that despite official sponsors creating almost twice as many ads, commercials by brands not affiliated with the FIFA tournament have so far attracted 8.9 million shares across the social Web. Videos from official sponsors, who paid from $14 million to $200 million to have their names associated with the World Cup, have managed only 3.6 million shares.

Unruly’s Braziliant Brands Tracker, which is updated throughout the tournament, reveals the advertisers whose football ads have attracted the most shares online. The top three places are all occupied by non-sponsors, while only four places in the top 11 are taken by official FIFA partners: Castrol, adidas, Emirates, and Coca-Cola.

There are still more than two weeks to go, but already it highlights just how much buzz non-affiliated brands have generated around the World Cup.

The number one brand is Activia. The Danone yogurt brand has overtaken early leader and fellow non-sponsor Nike in the race to become the social video champion of the 2014 World Cup. Its collaboration with Colombian pop princess Shakira, "La La La," is by far the most shared football ad of 2014, attracting almost 4 million shares. The video, which capitalizes on the online popularity of music videos, is also the sixth most shared ad of all time.

Driven by the success of ads "Winner Stays" and "The Last Game", Nike has attracted a total of 2.4 million shares, putting it well ahead of third-placed Samsung, but, more significantly, well ahead of fierce rival and official sponsor adidas, which is in fifth place. Adidas has moved up two places since the tournament began, but Nike is way ahead, attracting more than three times more shares.

Leading the way for the sponsors is Castrol, in fourth. The only other official FIFA partners to make it on to the Dream 11 are Coca-Cola (sixth) and Emirates (ninth). ESPN, an official World Cup broadcaster, is currently in eighth place.

Other highlights from Unruly’s data include:

  • Newcomers to the top 11 are non-sponsors Beats by Dre, Japanese noodle company The Nissin Group, and Banco de Chile, one of the biggest banks in South America.
  • Official sponsors Visa (12th), McDonald’s (14th), and Kia (18th) only make the subs bench, while Budweiser and Sony fail to make it into the top 20.
  • Three-quarters of Nike’s and adidas’ combined ad shares have been generated by Nike (75.6 percent).
  • The average sponsor’s ad has generated 66,156 fewer shares than those created by a non-sponsor.
  • Even if you took out Activia’s monster hit "La La La," non-sponsors would still lead the way, attracting 62.2 percent of the shares.
  • However, one sponsor that does have the edge over its fiercest competitor is Coca-Cola (sixth). The soft drinks giant is currently 13 places ahead of Pepsi after attracting 87 percent of the combined shares between the two.

Here is the current data for the Braziliant 11:

  1. Activia - 3,958,113
  2. Nike - 2,391,963
  3. Samsung - 1,227,601
  4. Castrol - 930,877
  5. adidas - 770,785
  6. Coca-Cola - 526,081
  7. Beats by Dr. Dre - 426,945
  8. ESPN - 368,025
  9. Emirates - 289,098
  10. Nissin Group - 237,578
  11. Banco de Chile - 149,491


The "Braziliant Brands Tracker" has been created using data from Unruly Analytics and the Unruly Viral Video Chart, which cover 430 billion video views and are tracking 24 million shares per day. They rank videos by the number of shares they attract across Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere.

Official sponsors are based on this FIFA list. Official broadcasters, such as the BBC and ESPN, are also included. Data was extracted on June 23, 2014. The Braziliant Brand Tracker lists 11 brands to reflect the number of players in a football team.

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Greg Jarboe

Greg Jarboe is president of SEO-PR, which provides search engine optimization, public relations, video marketing, and social media marketing services. He's the author of "YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day," a faculty member at Rutgers University and Market Motive, as well as a frequent speaker at SES conferences.

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