Top Euro 2012 brands for social media buzz- Adidas takes the prize


Adidas has topped the Euro 2012 sponsorship scoreboard by driving the greatest volume of social media discussion of its sponsorship during the group stage, according to new research looking at the impact of brands on social media sporting conversations. The study, from Precise, forund that despite the growth of social media since 2010 sponsors of UEFA EURO 2012 drove a lower volume of conversations than the sponsors of the 2010 FIFA World Cup


And although Euro 2012 sponsors allegedly ramped up their social media activity around the tournament, digital activations and apps generally failed to score big in producing active discussion about their brands. According to the research, traditional offline sponsorship is still driving the lion’s share of conversations

During the UEFA EURO 2012 group matches, Adidas took a 29 per cent share of daily English-language conversations on social media about the sponsors. McDonald’s was mentioned in 17 per cent of these daily conversations; Orange 15 per cent; Carlsberg 12 per cent and Coca Cola 10 per cent.

Sponsors looking to score big in social media by driving conversations around their activities have found that this is no easy game. Despite the growth in the use of social media since 2010 (e.g. according to Twitter, the average number of daily tweets increased from 50 million in March 2010 to 340 million in March 2012), sponsors of UEFA EURO 2012 drove a lower volume of conversations than the sponsors of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The research is based on analysis of all English-language social media conversations about the key sponsors during the group stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, and UEFA EURO 2012.

The team analysed the conversations to understand their focus, and whether they were user generated opinions, or posts that merely comprised the sharing of news and other content. The research has found that, for sponsors looking to create conversations around their activities, it is sponsored properties such as the ball, the kits, and the escorts, that really generate online opinions, with digital activations and apps generally failing to score big in producing active discussion.

“The research suggests that in the realms of football sponsorship, offline sponsorship is still driving the lion’s share of conversations,” commented James Withey, Head of Brand Insight, Precise. “Social media use has exploded over the last two years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean people will discuss sponsor activities in ever-greater volumes. So the question is - how do sponsors get people talking about what they are doing? The success of those brands with a strong focus on using offline activities to get people talking about them online, suggests that sponsors would benefit from better coordinating their offline and online marketing activities.”

Precise’s research has revealed that the three brands generating the greatest volume of mentions in relation to the tournament are Adidas, McDonalds and Orange. Within this, the type of mentions and the nature of the conversations vary greatly across the three.

Adidas – wins the group

Precise research reveals that Adidas generated the greatest volume of mentions for its sponsorship, with around one-third of these mentions being opinion-led. The greater volume of mentions was driven by the sharing of competitions or automatically generated by user participation in digital sponsorship activities. These provide evidence of users engaging with Adidas apps and competitions, but carry less value in providing evidence of opinion.

It was the company’s offline sponsorship activities that tended to drive opinions. The Adidas Tango ball featured in more than 600 comments during the group stage, the Golden Boot nominations featured in 400 posts, and the football kits and boots designed by Adidas boosted favourable conversations.

McDonald’s – plays out a draw

McDonald’s experienced an especially high volume of user-generated buzz, accounting for approximately 70 per cent of total mentions of its sponsorship. This indicates a high level of engagement with its activities, and might suggest a win for McDonald’s. When Precise analysed the sentiment of the opinion, however, it found that the most prominent driver of conversations, the company’s sponsorship of the Official Player Escorts, was not especially well-received within social media. Precise’s research suggests that it may be more difficult for McDonald’s than Adidas to drive positive conversations around its sponsorship, in part because it is not always seen as being a natural fit with the tournament.

Orange – scores with its app

Orange experienced the third highest number of mentions in relation to UEFA EURO 2012 during the group stage. Use of its UEFA Euro 2012 app generated many of these mentions, indicating the app was popular. However, the app did not drive as much in the way of user-generated opinions.

Withey concludes, “Overall, the research challenges any assumption that increasing use of social media will make for ever-greater discussion of sponsors. Brands sponsoring events need to work hard to maximise conversations around their sponsorship, and recognise that it is still offline activities that tend to drive online conversations about them.”


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