For those of us in the advertising world it comes as no surprise that sponsorships are an important part of any major sporting event, and that with few exceptions money talks. While selecting sponsors based on criteria such as the environmental friendliness products might be nice, the fact is that groups like the California Milk Board don’t even come close in terms of the marketing budget of Coca Cola, and wouldn’t even know what to do with the global attention if they had it.
Today the BBC News announced that the World Cancer Research Fund has criticized FIFA for partnering with the likes of Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Budweiser because of their negative effects on health. The non-profit’s general manager even argued that it is “a real own goal to be giving this opportunity to companies that are known for unhealthy products.”
Though I don’t know anyone who believes that these particular sponsors have the healthiest products, they do have healthy marketing budgets, and while it may not be a popular sentiment, these sponsors to a large extent help make events like the World Cup that promote sport and health possible. In many cases, each of these companies (including FIFA) have portions of their budgets specifically set aside for non profit foundations like The Coca-Cola Foundation or McDonalds’ Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Overall, this tempest in a teacup seems like a good way for a good organization’s name to appear in the paper and maybe get some nice publicity, but overall, corporate sponsorships are an effective strategy for both promoting a brand as well as giving valuable resources to put on such tremendous events and promote charitable activities on a global level.