Brands piggy-backing on major events not guaranteed success

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During the World Cup, brands not officially tied in with the sporting event were being perceived by many as being official sponsors. For example, research by GlobalWebIndex found many incorrectly believed Nike to be an official sponsor and in the U.K. many thought Carlsberg was the official World Cup beer when it was, in fact, Budweiser. While Coca-Cola was the official soft drink of the World Cup, many believed it to be Pepsi.

Furthermore, while MasterCard has not sponsored the World Cup since 2006, almost half of those surveyed by GlobalWebIndex thought they were sponsors of this year’s tournament.

However, post-event research by Millward Brown’s Consumer Neuroscience Practice, reported by The Drum, has found that official sponsor Coca-Cola was not only the most-recognized brand of the tournament but also the brand with the fastest recall.

Millward Brown’s neurologically-based online test, conducted with 5,000 consumers in the U.K. and Brazil, was designed to measure consumers’ gut instinct and intuitive feelings towards a brand. Almost all (92% Brazil / 81% UK) associated Coca-Cola as being a brand sponsor of the World Cup.

“The confusion about brand affiliations that existed among consumers of these two passionate footballing nations was very high before the event,” said Sarah Walker, global director at Millward Brown’s Neuromarketing Practice. “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.”

Jon Le-Bon /



Kristina Knight-1
Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
Content Writer & Editor
Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with, NBC News,, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.