Q&A: Which Brands Won (and Lost) the World Cup?

Big Ballz

It’s all over but for the shouting…and the crying.

Germany may have surprised nearly everyone–especially Brazil–in winning everything this year, but the question remains: which brands came out on top? Which corporations got their money’s worth on the world’s biggest sporting event?

According to Rick Miller, vice president of data and insights for Networked Insights, the three big winners were Budweiser, Hyundai and Castroland the losers were Sony, McDonald’s and Visa.

We spoke to Miller to get more on the why and the how; questions and answers after the jump.

World Cip

Strategically speaking, what did Budweiser, Hyundai and Castrol do right (beyond ad spending)?

Budweiser was destined for success from the beginning because among soccer fans, the honor of “Man of the Match” is a big deal, and Budweiser gave fans a way to vote via social media. In a world where a big part of marketing success is now measured in brand mentions on social platforms, this program was a lay-up.

Hyundai also tied a memorable hashtag (#becausefutbol) to TV spots that ran in heavy rotation. It’s hard for old-school creatives to comprehend that run-on word combinations can vary dramatically in creative effect, but there are many catchy hashtags that insert themselves into consumers’ vernacular and many others that don’t. Hyundai’s did.

Castrol is my pick for most innovative campaign, but I work at a big data company where we geek out about these things. The “Castrol Index,” which measured physical output and discreet game-play data, captivated consumers with fantasy-football-like stats.

Why was Bud’s gain, in particular, so large and how is it measured? What sort of benefits did the brand reap?

Using branded creative elements that were integrated into the online voting process for “Man of the Match” was a huge reason for Bud’s success.

Networked Insights measured success by counting brand and brand-related discussions in a known World Cup Fan audience – as a share of total conversations by this audience – for a baseline period before World Cup kicked off. Then, we monitored how conversation levels improved (or did not improve) as a share of total conversations throughout the tournament.

We’re not privy to the campaigns objectives as Budweiser is not a current Networked Insights client, so stating the benefits they reaped is probably not for us to speculate. We can say that among World Cup fans engaging various social media platforms, Budweiser’s brand awareness and brand mentions were better than all other sponsors.

What did McD’s, Sony and Visa do wrong? Why were their numbers down when they spent on the event as well?

It’s hard to say why the campaigns that did not see similar results to Budweiser. Visa’s Nobel laureate video spot had great creative, but it couldn’t match the flash and dazzle of Nike’s or Adidas’ spots, and there was no distinct social call to action embedded in the creative.

McDonald’s bet big on mobile-to-product-packaging integration. By other measures it might have been deemed successful, but when measured by social engagement, it wasn’t. Consumers may not have made the leap from interacting with the physical packaging to talking about the campaign via social.

Could we compare successful/unsuccessful elements of the Bud and McD’s campaigns?

Budweiser used social media to embed themselves into a key interaction point with the event: voting for “Man of the Match.” McDonald’s campaign was more derivative of the event itself and didn’t entice consumers to continue discussing the brand in social channels.

Many previous reports claimed that Adidas had won over Nike in the battle of the two biggest brands. What’s your take on that?

The comeback story for the 2014 World Cup has to be Adidas. Leading up to the opening ceremony and through the first week of the tournament, Nike was dominating Adidas in overall brand mentions and in lift in brand mentions. Nike’s heavy investment in broadband video spots, which featured their roster of star players – including Ronaldo, Neymar and Rooney – and were released before the tournament started gave them an early lead in the category. But Adidas stormed back.

One of my analysts, Sabrina Fruehaf, explained how, “A combination of a strong TV commercial – ‘House Match’ featuring Beckham and Zidane – incited strong organic consumer conversation and an abundance of YouTube shares. Additionally, because the World Cup final was played by two Adidas-sponsored teams, Adidas’ #allin social campaign finished strong.” Adidas increased brand mentions by 121.4% during the tournament and ended with 0.218% total share of voice among World Cup fans compared with Nike’s 0.168%.

What do we think of Miller’s take on the brand standings?