Depending on who you ask, the ongoing FIFA scandal has been either a disaster or a non-event for brands associated with the organization.
When news of the arrests first broke, Meltwater created an infographic measuring social media sentiments regarding key sponsors–and it was almost universally negative. Here’s the most interesting graph:
These findings inspired a Marketing Week post (subscription required) naming Nike as “most damaged associated brand,” in part because the company has been linked to bribes concerning its sponsorship of the Brazilian national team. After the arrests, Nike identified itself as the sportswear company named in the indictments and issued this statement to The Guardian and other news outlets:
“The charging documents unsealed [on Wednesday] in Brooklyn do not allege that Nike engaged in criminal conduct. There is no allegation in the charging documents that any Nike employee was aware of or knowingly participated in any bribery or kickback scheme.”
This followed an earlier, blander statement regarding the brand’s belief in “fair play” and its “[continued] cooperation with the authorities.” Still, many think the company will be alright. Stock analyst Andrew Burns of D.A. Davidson told the Portland Business Journal:
“I don’t think any consumer blames or lumps Nike into the broader FIFA issue…as long as the product continues to lead the market, I think Nike will be bullet proof.”
Recent research by YouGov seems to confirm his opinion, at least as it applies to FIFA sponsors in general. The organization polled individuals in the US and UK about “FIFA’s main sponsors such as Visa, Adidas, Coca Cola and Budweiser” and found that none had suffered as a result of the ongoing story:
So while FIFA itself suffered a predictable dive in public perception, none of the brands associated with the organization seem to have experienced the same.
Note, however, that Nike does not appear on the YouGov list.
So do FIFA sponsor brands need to worry or not?