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Soccer World Cup advertising: the facts

Oct 28 2010 00:00 Tony Koenderman
HOW MUCH GOOD did the Soccer World Cup give the advertising business really? When pitted against previous organising countries’ spend increase – Korea/Japan’s 20% and Germany’s 15% – South Africa’s adspend increase of 17% in the lead-up to the event was “competitive,” says Ken McArthur, MD of Nielsen Media SA. It was also reassuringly in the middle of the 15%-25% range of Nielson’s pre-tournament forecast.

Spending by sponsors varied wildly according to category.

“National supporters” increased their spend in the first seven months of the year by 15%, “Partners” by 32% and “Sponsors” by 50%. In July, R2,2bn found its way into the media mix.

Only four of the top 15 spenders had an official association with FIFA, perhaps indicating some brands that could capitalise didn’t; while those who had no association with the event found ways of capitalising on it and the influx of visitors.

But it raises serious questions about the value of an official support role when the biggest spenders – and, possibly, beneficiaries – of the World Cup were virtual ambush marketers.

Of the official FIFA partners, two spenders stand out: Hyundai started off such a low base that even after pumping its adspend up by an enormous 5 000% it was still spending only R6m; and Visa outdid itself with an eightfold rise in spend to R33m. While Hyundai’s total spend wasn’t exceptional, as a percentage increase it was. Coca-Cola’s ad spend – always high worldwide – increased just 4%.

Among the sponsors, three stand out: Castrol SA, McDonald’s and MTN, which spent a combined R270m. “That shows even the usually small spenders – such as Castrol SA – capitalised on their FIFA association,” says McArthur. 
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