The brand that’s winning in the World Cup

The internet has been abuzz over the last two matches between Brazil and Germany and Argentina and Netherlands.

While Germany has had the best highlights, it looks like there’s another winner: Adidas – the brand sponsoring winning teams for both matches.

And the score is looking good for Adidas, even off the pitch. Adidas was the most talked about brand at the World Cup 2014 across all major social media channels, according to The Adidas campaign, #allin or nothing saw strong representation across Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr; posting a combination of planned, anticipated and reactive content for the duration of the five week event. This ultimately resulted is an increase of 4,865,502 followers across all platforms, more than any other sports brand, according to marketing data analyst simply measured.

Tom Ramsden, global brand marketing director, Adidas football said: "It is fantastic to have two teams in the World Cup Final. Throughout the tournament our goal has been to be the most talked about brand of the World Cup and engage with people all over the world. Having two teams in the Final and, of course, Leo Messi; we are in a great position to tell our #allin or nothing story."

Meanwhile arch rivals Nike were the sponsors of losing teams Brazil and Netherlands. What’s the real cost to the brand?

Tom Child, strategist at Landor said that the results will come down to the finals, but added that where Nike actually fell short was in its choice of players.

“In fact half of the athletes heavily marketed by Nike failed to qualify for the knock out stages and failing to represent a team in the final means Nike will have to review their marketing strategy,” said Child.

He added that Adidas’ heavily marketed man, Lionel Messi, has outshone his Nike counterparts Ronaldo and Neymar both on and off the pitch across all social media platforms during the World Cup, more than any other brand.

Jamie Lewin, head of client services, Asia-Pacific m/six was of the opinion that from the perspective of building equity with an authentic audience, Nike loses nothing by not having a team in the final.

"It goes without saying that Nike has an incredible heritage in terms of building and capitalising upon the energy around teams and individuals, be that on a domestic or global stage. To the real Nike fans, advocates and football obsessed teens, the campaign started months ago, and brand love has reached a fever pitch."

Of course, Nike will have to forego the millions of viewers watching the finals, as compared to the semi-finals. (According to FIFA and Kantar’s TV audience report from the last World Cup, 404 million viewers watched the semi finals vs 530 million who watched the finals.)

Pablo Gomez, regional communications planning director of IPG Mediabrands also added that most of the communications efforts for a sporting event is usually done before the games begin.  Sports marketing arena today is rather cluttered and audiences are not always able to discern who the actual sponsors are.

While an event as prestigious as the World Cup is absolutely necessary for brands such as Nike or Adidas to be associated with, what a brand does using sponsorship as its base through its communications – be it marketing, advertising, PR, social media is what makes the impact is vital.

This can be through brand impact, brand preference or driving awareness, which will all lead to impacting market share and consumers’ intent to purchase, said Gomez.

Nike was not able to comment on Marketing's queries at the time of writing.