Alongside the Super Bowl, FIFA’s football World Cup is one of the world’s largest commercialised sporting events. Considering the enormous sponsoring costs, before the competition FACIT Research used a representative sample from an online study to investigate the impact of the official sponsors compared to ‘ambushers’ and competitor brands (non-sponsors).

Companies spend millions in order to be allowed to advertise as World Cup sponsors. According to Statista, the additional advertising costs of the World Cup alone totalled 2.4 billion dollars worldwide this year – not including official sponsorship activity. Shortly before the start of this, the world’s largest football event, Facit Research investigated whether the German public were actually aware of the sponsors.

As well as asking about the actual sponsors of the FIFA football World Cup in Russia, a few non-sponsors were also included. Of all the sponsors, only Coca Cola (67.9%) and adidas (57.8%) were identified as sponsors by over half of those surveyed. The credit card provider Visa is currently recognised as an official sponsor by only 37.3 per cent of participants. MasterCard, as a direct competitor, achieves 34.6 per cent as a non-sponsor, which can be explained by MasterCard’s engagement with the UEFA Champions League. There is an even more extreme discrepancy in public profile between Qatar Airways and Lufthansa and between Budweiser and Heineken. Here, non-sponsors Lufthansa (22.9%) and Heineken (16.8%) achieved higher ratings than the actual sponsors Qatar Airways (17.1%) and Budweiser (13.4%). Why is this? For Heineken/Budweiser, it is the same story as with Visa/MasterCard: Heineken sponsors the UEFA Champions League and is therefore recognised as a sponsor in the world of football and is now perceived more strongly at the World Cup than its competitor Budweiser. And from a German point of view, the Lufthansa/Qatar result has an easy explanation: as the airline and its crane logo sponsor the German side, its visibility in connection with the football World Cup is huge in this country. As a result, many of those surveyed assumed that they were sponsoring the entire World Cup.

This shows that the real sponsors of the FIFA football World Cup were not able to achieve the desired link with the event in advance. We will run a second survey after the event and are excited to see any changes in the assessment.


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Voice user interfaces are in no way a new phenomenon. Siri has been on the market since 2011. However, with the seemingly omnipresent advertising for Amazon Echo, the topic is now more relevant than ever. Competitors of the Echo are very active in this field, too. Google with Assistant, Microsoft with Cortana and Facebook with their Messenger M are vying for consumer favour. Consequently, graphic interfaces are being increasingly replaced by or only used in conjunction with voice user interfaces, as speech has been the simplest and most used form of communication for millennia. Even today, voice user interfaces are not without their faults.

According to the “BrandZ” study, Google is replacing Apple as the most valuable brand – and that’s a good thing as everyone knows that competition is good for business. And if we’re honest, it’s high time that Apple be dethroned: Where are the great innovations since the introduction of the iPad? Apple’s concept for success – reduction down to elementary features, simplification by paternalism – simply no longer adds up. And the arrogance of Apple’s market identity, which may have been justified in the beginning, is not as popular any more.

The older target groups have also learned and do not want to be dogmatically locked into a closed system; that didn’t matter to Apple in the past. iAds – in short, they failed. iRadio – not really. B2B-Appstore – still not available. Larger displays, NFC – so far, they’ve been snoozing.
Google has recently been much more dynamic, and not just when it comes to its Android operating system for smartphones or the Nexus devices: Google has started many smart services and has tried to understand the user in the process. Google Music, Google Movies or Google Now, for example.

All of this – plus its market position in the area of search services and the resulting advertising income – are points contributing to Apple now being overtaken: Resting on their laurels, ignoring customer preferences, missing innovations and an arrogant communication policy toward end users and business partners has lead the market and customers to punish Apple.
The “Beats” purchase will not stop this trend for now – a headphone system can be replaced. Android is spreading quickly and already supports the “wearables” trend. And Microsoft is also increasing the pressure with the slowly but steadily increasing prevalence of Windows Mobile.
The expectations for the iPhone 6 get higher every day – it still remains to be seen whether Apple can meet them in the end.

For us as an agency, this confirms what we’ve been observing for a long time: Google is currently the more dynamic and innovative partner. To put it positively: Apple, it’s finally time to put the pedal back to the metal!