Despite mutterings prior to the start of the tournament, and a blistering 'Write the Future' campaign from Nike, the FIFA World Cup's official sponsors appear to be winners when it comes to brand recognition according to a new report from Nielsen.

The study examined online conversations about World Cup sponsors or their major competitors.

After the first two weeks of the tournament, June 11-25, Adidas walked away with a 25% share of Nielsen's 'buzz' rating, with Nike behind on 19%. That contrasts with a pre-tournament rating of 14% and 30% respectively.

Not all buzz was necessarily positive - after three days of competition, Adidas' controversial competition ball accounted for 8% of all English-language messages.

However, Adidas' community team responded well. "The Adidas football Facebook page is now up to over a million fans and they are dropping new content several times a day, all while the average post is generating upwards of 100 comments," said Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen's Executive VP of Digital Strategy.

"Paid or sponsorship investment is just the foot in the door. The rest really depends on variables like timing, creativity, controversy, and a combination of brand readiness and agility."

Adidas' presence has been helped by good performances on the field, as sponsored teams Germany, Argentina, Paraguay and Spain all made it through to the quarter finals, while several high profile athletes involved Nike's commercials found themselves going home earlier than expected.

Highest share of online World Cup buzz first two weeks
1) Adidas, FIFA Partner (25.1% of total buzz)
2) Nike, Non-affiliated Competitor (19.4%)
3) Coca-Cola, FIFA Partner (11.0%)
4) Sony, FIFA Partner (9.8%)
5) Budweiser, FIFA Partner (4.9%)
6) Hyundai / Kia, FIFA Partner (4.7%)
7) Visa, FIFA World Cup Sponsor (4.7%)
8) McDonald's, FIFA World Cup Sponsor (4.2%)
9) Pepsi, Non-affiliated Competitor (2.8%)
10) Carlsberg, Non-affiliated Competitor (2.4%)
Source: NM Incite, a Nielsen McKinsey Company