The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world – including Mexico, of course. At Millward Brown, we monitored Mexicans’ consumption of the event in order to learn the impact achieved by those brands that decided to invest in the World Cup or in Mexico’s soccer team. Thus, we conducted over 2,000 interviews via mobiles with both males and females older than 16 and from all different socio-economic levels, all around the country.
Conducting the survey through a means with such high penetration allowed us to confirm the virtual tie reported by audience measurements between the two Mexican open TV networks for the World Cup coverage.1 We also witnessed Facebook’s leadership (64%) as the favorite social network to follow the World Cup. Even the utility itself considers this percentage a record chatting level, with extraordinary participation.2
Fans vs. the rest of the world
For some years now, the World Cup has been much more than a sporting event with its matches, moves, and controversies. Starting in the mornings, broadcasters of all kinds appeared on TV speaking of players, games, predictions and all sorts of matters external to the soccer field. Including all these shows, 56% of interviewees considered themselves to be World Cup Fans, 39% saw themselves as Informed – we will call them the Rest of the World, and only 5% claimed they did not follow the event at all.
Fans and media
As expected, the majority of World Cup Fans were males over 30 years old. Although the World Cup was mostly watched at home, Fans distinguished themselves by following it at bars and restaurants, or at someone else’s house.
Although open TV was the main means where interviewees watched the World Cup, 60% of Fans and 34% of the Rest of the World did it on pay TV. The remaining 40% of Fans and 15% of the Rest of the World watched it on Internet portals. A similar behavior was seen on social networks and apps. On average, Fans watched the matches in two different media, while the Rest of the World did it by only one means. Also, Fans said they followed the World Cup in more than one social network – with Facebook as the most popular one (70%). They also visited more internet portals to watch this sporting event: Televisadeportes.com and Aztecadeportes.com were those most frequently mentioned.
So what did brands get from sponsoring the World Cup?
As expected, brand recall for those sponsoring Mexico’s soccer team was very high: five-fold more than their main competitor.
Using the Millward Brown Meaningfully Different Model we discovered that brands sponsoring the national team gained 4 percentage points for Salience 3 and 9 for Different. We also observed that brands that did not sponsor Mexico’s soccer team lost 4 points for Salience and 2 for Different. Thus, the contribution of sponsoring to these brands was a net growth of 10 percentage points as a Different brand and 9 as a Salient brand.
Modifications in terms of salience led sponsoring brands to an increase of active awareness, since they were the brands most frequently mentioned as being associated with the main needs covered by their category. Moreover, brands that did not sponsor the national team showed a decrease of 9 percentage points for active awareness. Therefore, it is not only about the direct contribution of sponsoring to a brand, but also about the shadow cast over brands that do not take part in sponsoring.
Another effect we identified is that sponsoring Mexico’s soccer team gives a brand the required credentials to apply over pricing, since they showed a 7 points increase in the Premium Index once the World Cup started. Meanwhile, there were practically no changes in this index for non-sponsoring brands. The secret ingredient needed to achieve a Premium level is the vitality that sponsoring delivers to brands: consumers’ perception of sponsoring brands increased 4 points in the “sets trends” index, whereas non-sponsoring brands decreased 5 points in the same index.
Some more good news for soccer and its sponsors is that, even after the national team was eliminated, the number of followers did not fall to previous levels, nor did fans decrease: from 67% of followers at the beginning of the World Cup, the number grew to 73% at the end. This represents an increase of 6 percentage points of followers and the possibility to continue building messages. Thus, in terms of media, the World Cup was an extremely meaningful event in Mexico, with a large capacity to attract and retain an active audience that remained interested even after, unfortunately, Mexico was eliminated.
1 El Financiero newspape
2 Gestión en el mundial
3 Salience is part of Millward Brown’s Meaningful Differentiation Model. It refers to a brand’s capacity to stick in consumers’ minds once purchase needs in a category are activated. A brand is salient when consumers seek to satisfy a need and that brand comes naturally to their minds.