Official World Cup Sponsors Show Higher Effectiveness with TV Ads

Official World Cup Sponsors Show Higher Effectiveness with TV Ads

Although neither the the USA or England teams remain contenders for the World Cup, TV advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. appear to have scored with viewers during the first half of the tournament, according to a Nielsen analysis of advertising effectiveness in the two countries.

In the U.S, Nielsen monitored national advertising during weekend ABC and ESPN matches, plus all Team USA matches from June 11-26, and found that official sponsors connected better with World Cup fans. Nielsen data showed that the five primary World Cup TV sponsors (Adidas, AT&T, Budweiser, Hyundai and Sony) generated 55% higher Net Likeability on average compared to commercials from other, non-sponsor World Cup advertisers. The sponsors also generated 16% higher Brand Recall on average for their World Cup in-game/in-studio elements, such as the Hyundai “Halftime Report” and the Adidas “First Half Highlights,” versus their typical in-game sponsorship performance in other sporting events.

“Nielsen data clearly shows an advantage for U.S. sponsors who have had an expanded presence in the matches with in-game or in-studio elements,” said Alan Gould, CEO of Nielsen IAG, which measures TV advertising effectiveness and program engagement. “The presence of these elements, which are integrated seamlessly into programming, is likely bolstering the effectiveness of these brands’ traditional TV commercials that air around the matches.”

In examining ad performance of new campaigns launched by World Cup sponsors and non-sponsors since the start of the tournament, Nielsen data also showed that ads from Budweiser, M&M’s, Macy’s, Sony and Hyundai scored highest in Net Likeability, with the greatest percentage of World Cup TV viewers recalling the commercial, the advertised brand, and reporting to like the ad “a lot” or “somewhat.”

Even World Cup fans are not immune to the gender divide as Nielsen ad effectiveness data shows that some World Cup ads seemed to be more engaging to certain genders in the U.S. While ads for Nike and Hyundai generated the high Net Likeability for female World Cup TV viewers, ads from Adidas and Cisco were hits with male audiences.

Both Sponsors and Non-sponsors Faring Well across the Pond

The World Cup, which proved to be a big draw for U.K. viewers, also provided an advertiser-friendly environment for sponsors and non-sponsors alike in the U.K. Nielsen IAG monitored advertising during World Cup programming on ITV1 in the U.K., including game, pre-game and post-game analysis from June 11-22, and found that, among new ad executions airing since the start of the tournament, ads for BT Telecommunications, Churchill Insurance, The Sun, Renault Automobiles and Carling all made the top 5 in Brand Recall. Among the top 5, only two – The Sun and Carling – are World Cup-themed.

A look at all World Cup-themed ads, including those that began airing during the run-up to the tournament, showed that England national team sponsor, Nationwide Building Society, topped the list in Brand Recall, followed by two ads from and the commercials from The Sun and Carling. The spot from Nationwide Building Society also ranked in the top 5 most liked ads, but it was a commercial for Magner’s Irish Cider that scored highest in Net Likeability, with a 22% higher than average number of viewers reporting that they recalled the ad, the advertised brand, and reporting to like the ad “a lot” or “somewhat.”

Official World Cup sponsor Visa, which decided to air World Cup TV ads outside the U.S. only, also saw a significant lift in Likeability within World Cup programming. Visa’s World Cup-themed credit card ad scored a 100% increase in Likeability when it aired during World Cup programming, versus airings for the same ad during non-sports programming. Nationwide Building Society received a nearly 80% lift in Brand Recall and a 95% increase in Likeability for its themed ad during World Cup programming versus when it aired in non-sports programming.

“While official sponsors are seeing their investments pay off as viewers are showing they’re receptive to the advertisements and that the messages are resonating well with the audience, there are clearly also significant opportunities for other advertisers to capitalize on the engaging environment that a major event such as the World Cup provides,” said Gould.