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Volume 21 No. 2
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Activation success in Brazil and around the world has FIFA sponsors upbeat

FIFA sponsors and partners are encouraged by early results from their activation efforts in Brazil and around the world. 

The return of the world’s most popular sport to Brazil, which has fielded one of the most accomplished national teams in history, resulted in a captivating event that helped partners Adidas, Coca-Cola and Visa and sponsor McDonald’s outperform results from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 

Adidas saw significant increase in sales of national team jerseys and the official 2014 World Cup soccer ball, the Brazuca. Jersey sales were up by double digits as of last week, and it sold twice as many jerseys for the Colombian national team, which it added to its portfolio of teams, as it did in 2010 for France, which shifted to Nike this year. It also sold more than 14 million soccer balls. 

“We’re exceeding all of our projections, especially on Brazuca,” said Ernesto Bruce, Adidas’ director of soccer. “The ball has been a huge success for the brand [based] on how it’s showed up on the field and how it’s been used in even other companies’ commercials.” 

Coca-Cola took the World Cup Trophy Tour to a record 90 countries and 1 million consumers. It partnered with FIFA on fan fests around the country that drew more than 4.5 million fans, an increase from 2010. The song it released from Aloe Blacc and David Correy, a remix of “The World Is Ours,” hit the top-10 charts in 40 countries. 

Visa, which sponsored its second World Cup, saw its metrics increase considerably. The company averaged more than 10,000 transactions a game with Visa cards, which is more than it had in South Africa and more than an Olympics. It also developed prepaid cards that could be customized at stadiums so that fans could take away a memento with their names, the date and information about a game they attended. 

“There were long lines to buy them at most stadiums,” said Ricardo Fort, Visa’s vice president of global sponsorship. “We did something similar in South Africa and [at the London Olympics], but this is the first time it was customizable and fans were taking it along with [souvenir] cups.”

McDonald’s, a World Cup sponsor, promoted the World Cup in 119 countries, making it the largest global activation of a sponsorship in the company’s history. It had 200 million submissions worldwide for its “Ultimate Fan” sweepstakes, which took 184 young adults to the semifinals and finals. The company offered another sweepstakes with peel-off awards on drinks at its restaurants called “Peel. Play. Ole, Ole.” It awarded gift certificates, soccer gear, free food and trips to Brazil. The promotion helped attract people to its restaurants over the last four weeks, said John Lewicki, McDonald’s head of global alliances.

“We’re up on sales targets in the U.S. and other countries are seeing success,” Lewicki said.