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Breakthrough creative ideas are more important in securing brand buzz than official sponsorship during an event like the football World Cup, according to a recent report by Cimigo, an independent team of marketing and brand research specialists.
Being an official sponsor of the World Cup was not necessarily sufficient to secure brand recognition, the 2010 Football World Cup Communication Landscape survey found.
Cimigo interviewed 1,000 Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi about what they saw, heard, felt, bought and consumed during the 19th FIFA World Cup in June and July. Cimigo engaged a community of 50 fans to understand the World Cup brand buzz.
"Many brands seek to be associated with the Football World Cup and tap into the extreme emotions and sense of belonging with fans, teams, nations and the world," Tom Skilbeck, director at Cimigo, said.
However, official sponsorship does not always guarantee that a brand will get all the buzz and association with the sport, the event or the fans.
"Among the top 10 brands creating a buzz and association with the World Cup, only four were official sponsors," he said.
The brands that created the most buzz around the Football World Cup included Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Tiger, Sony, Samsung, Heineken, Castrol, Nokia, Adidas and The Gioi Di Dong.
Of these, Coca-Cola, Sony, Castrol and Adidas were the only official sponsors.
"Advertising proved critical," Skilbeck said.
True buzz was generated by exciting live events, World Cup-related promotions and online contests.
For example, Pepsi's TV commercial propelled the association of the World Cup with Pepsi to second place behind Coca-Cola.
The Pepsi advert used a football star line-up, including Vietnam's first and third favorite players, Lionel Messi and Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (Kaka), along with other stars including Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.
Pepsi paid large endorsement fees to these celebrities, and most people in Viet Nam assumed that the company was an official sponsor. Coca-Cola was the most associated brand with the World Cup.
Skilbeck said the company "did a fantastic all-round marketing effort" including strong TV advertising supported by the World Cup Trophy Event, under-the-bottle cap promotion and online contests.
The Mobile World Handset retail chain, or The Gioi Di Dong, with 56 branches nationwide cut through with compelling promotions, according to the survey.