The 2010 FIFA World Cup has arrived and practically the whole world is watching – and what they’re seeing is some very well placed on-field advertising. These high-res digital boards circumvent two thirds of the field in view of the television cameras and change every minute or so to reveal another of the official World Cup sponsors.

Considering that commercial breaks are infrequent during the match, these highly visible displays are (in this writer’s opinion) an excellent platform to communicate top-of-mind awareness to a world-wide audience.

World Cup Advertising
Official FIFA partners 2010 World Cup sponsors
adidas Budweiser
Coca Cola Castrol
Emirates Continental Tires
Hyundai/Kia McDonald’s
Sony MTN Wireless


In addition to the official sponsors while watching the Uruguay/France game I couldn’t help but notice some other sponsors on the constantly-changing boards and think these were smart placements. The on-field displays run 30 seconds between each transition and of course the real payoff is when a goal is scored as the replays will go on for ions.

(The English goal tender Robert Green’s now infamous “mistake” will forever show Shanduka Energy [Coca-Cola] in the background.)

I recalled reading an article on the BNET blog that stated:

“Every time I open a magazine or a newspaper, drive past a billboard or find myself watching network television, I marvel that companies are still foolish — or vain — enough to spend a fortune on the kind of advertising I’ve come to know as “spray and pray.” Why, I wonder, does anyone invest such huge sums in a medium that is extravagantly unaccountable?”

And indeed these are good points, but we would remind advertisers that, although growing in many new and engaging and trackable ways, online marketing is still one component in a marketing strategy that is designed to intercept and create awareness for your target audience. Having an on-field presence is an expensive proposition for these sponsors, but it also carries enormous exposure that can then be leveraged with online conversations, contests and promotions that may never have been started without the initial prod seen during a World Cup match.

For instance, one of the World Cup advertisers I saw prominently displayed was Yingli Solar, which is a Chinese company that has over the past year grown exponentially in the California market over the past year. According to an article posted on the Global Energy Network Institute, “Over the last three years, China’s share of the California market, in terms of supplied megawatts, has risen to 46 percent, from 2 percent, according to a preliminary report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research and consulting firm.” My point is, our agency, Science Creative, is passionate about working with green energy companies and until I had seen Yingli Solar on the field at the World Cup, I may never had inquired, or known who they were. Kudos to the advertisers who invested in high exposure on-field signage at the World Cup!

This is also posted on Science Creative.