A Story of Social Sentiment – World Cup Wrap-up

Elvis Lieban |
 07/18/18 |
3 min read

Now that the month-long journey of the World Cup has come to a close, where do fans, the teams, and FIFA sponsors stand? Let’s take one last look at the social sentiment surrounding “futball’s” biggest event.

Winning Sponsors

We’ve followed the 12 World Cup sponsor brands since a week before the tournament. In Week 0 Hisense and Adidas were winning the sentiment game, and Nike was feeling a bit of heat after pulling their sponsorship of the Iranian team. By Week 1, however, Nike was recovering, Hisense was holding their ground and Budweiser and Coca-Cola had entered the race in a big way.


Week 2 saw a continued strong showing by Hisense, whose #ShareTheIncredible campaign had fans engaged in a big way. Qatar Airways and Visa and Coca-Cola had high passion, even if mentions weren’t overwhelming. But a small group of passionate fans is more powerful than millions of apathetic ones.

Chinese dairy brand Mengniu suffered a loss of sentiment due to confusion surrounding their sponsorship, being a relatively unknown brand compared to big names like McDonald’s and Coke. But it was a great opportunity for them to be on the world stage. Their presence alone had people talking.


By Week 3, there were comparisons to more familiar brands like Haagen-Dazs and Magnum, as sentiment and passion dropped to a “Who cares?” level. Mengniu should take the opportunity to perform some competitive analysis on these well-known brands to see if they can sway consumer love in their direction going forward.

Meanwhile, Hisense had dropped some mentions, but was still going strong with Brand Passion. Budweiser hit their stride in Week 3, with 100% Passion Intensity, high positive Net Sentiment, and high Mentions. In fact, they were the most mentioned brand as seen in our World Cup infographic.

McDonald’s and Coca-Cola seemed to lose steam with social audiences, while Nike found themselves in trouble again.

Week 4 (July 5 – July 11)

How did things look as we rounded the final corner?

Hisense was back on top with their highest Mentions yet, and 100% Net Sentiment, and Mengniu rebounded significantly. Mentions were tiny, but Net Sentiment was back to being positive at 100%.

Adidas finished strong, as did Coca-Cola, Qatar Airways and Visa. Budweiser saw a drop in Net Sentiment and Mentions, however. What happened there? Seems they were referenced in articles explaining a failed Burger King World Cup ad, making them guilty by association.

By Week 5, they were back on track with Net Sentiment at 100%.

Week 5 (July 11 – July 15)

Who else finished with lots of social love? Here are the final Net Sentiment metrics for the 12 sponsors:

All brands except Mengniu and Wanda Group finished with positive Net Sentiment values – and this is again attributable to lack of awareness (outside China) of what these brands are about.

McDonald’s, Nike, and Vivo have some work to do, clearly. They’re on the positive end of the spectrum, but not firmly enough to relax. They need to do some Sentiment Analysis sleuthing to understand what’s dragging their numbers down.

As for the rest? There’s a lot of love to be had for Adidas, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Gazprom, Hisense, Qatar Airways, and Visa.

Adidas in particular scored big with their crowdsourced “creativity” video – which went viral.

The goal now – for all brands – is to ride that wave into whatever comes next.

Everyone Loves an Underdog

And what of the final match? Croatia making the final was major news – and that was clear on social media as well.

During the semi-finals, England had the most mentions of the final four teams, with Croatia in the #2 spot, followed by France and Belgium. But Croatia’s unexpected win over England put them in their first World Cup final, putting the soccer world into a tizzy.

There was a lot of social love for the Croatians, and their unexpected victory:

France may have taken the Cup in the end, but Croatia’s accomplishment in playing in the final is no less wonderful.

And perhaps this social fan says it best:

That’s sort of what Sentiment Analysis does as well – makes you pay attention to insights you might never notice or think about until they’re in front of you.

Just like you can’t predict the outcome of a tournament like the World Cup, you can’t predict what social audiences will care about – not completely. You have to be open to the surprises, and follow along to see where they land.

Try it. You just might nab an unexpected victory.

Ready for a tour of our social sentiment tools? Get in touch and we’ll walk you through!



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