Soccer is a tough sport for advertisers. With few commercial breaks during games, companies don't have a lot of chances to get their marketing message out.
I'll admit to not being the biggest soccer fan in the world. But I have tuned in to most of the games played in South Africa this week. And here's all that I've learned:
-Budweiser is the official beer of the World Cup and produced a mildly entertaining online show on YouTube.
-Adidas is the official sporting goods manufacturer, but I only know that because players complained about the ball. (Otherwise, I might have assume Nike was the official FIFA partner.)
-Hyundai is the official car. I think.
Aaaaand, that's pretty much it. I don't think I was aware that Coca-Cola is a FIFA Partner. Same goes for Visa, Sony and Emirates Airlines.
McDonald's is a sponsor. I would have assumed that, but can't say that I've seen a commercial. I've seen nothing from Castrol, which is also apparently a sponsor.
Just about every other official sponsor is an African-based company, which means they may be getting considerable exposure in arenas and on television in South Africa. But they are invisible to the American audience.
This inability to really break through to an audience makes it easier for ambush marketers to make an impact, and FIFA has tried to crack down on that.
But from a pure return on investment standpoint, one wonders if the official partners of FIFA are getting their moneys worth.