MANILA, Philippines - Some of the most visible brands at this year's FIFA World Cup are not even official partners.
In its first Ambush Marketing Analysis for the World Cup 2014, Global Language Monitor (GLM) said the number 1 "ambush marketer" is Beats headphones.
Beats, which was recently acquired by Apple, has overshadowed FIFA's official partner Sony.
While football players are not allowed to wear Beats headphones in World Cup stadiums for official matches and media events, stars like Brazil's Neymar and Uruguay's Luis Suarez have been spotted wearing them off the pitch.
"Of course, Beats, the headphones created by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine (and banned by FIFA at the World Cup), scored a remarkable one hundred plus BAI (Brand Affiliation Index) points, ahead of Sony, the FIFA Partner," Global Language Monitor said.
Beats also released an ad "The Game Before The Game" featuring Neymar, Netherlands' Robin van Persie , Uruguay's Luis Suarez and other football stars wearing the iconic headphones. The video, uploaded on Youtube, has been viewed more than 18 million times.
GLM also noted that four of the top positions on the BAI index were held by companies that are not official sponsors at the World Cup. The BAI analyzes the global association between individual brands and their competitors at the World Cup.
KFC beat official FIFA partner McDonald's in terms of BAI, so did Nike with Adidas and P&G with Johnson & Johnson.
"The numbers tell the story, and it is very interesting story, indeed. Global marketers have decided that aligning their brands with the FIFA World Cup is every bit as valuable as the Olympics, and perhaps even more so for certain audiences and demographics," said Paul JJ Payack, the Global Language Monitor president and Chief Word Analyst.
GLM noted the value of World Cup sponsorship is rising, from $10 million for lessor arrangements to partnerships approaching $200 million.
The Texas-based GLM documents, analyzes and tracks trends worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language.