And the World Cup fan favourite is - RONALDO!

...beating out Messi and Mbappe

Written by David Brain
November 29, 2022

Possibly the most famous image from the FIFA World Cup so far was Louis Vuitton’s portrait of Ronaldo and Messi engaged in an unlikely chess match on a trademark logo’d valise - presumably the same one used to present the World Cup.

As a piece of influencer marketing it was as well judged as it was big budget.  Is this a metaphor for the last battle between the two greats of world football for its greatest prize? Well of course it is and if you have Annie Liebowitz to shoot it for you, you’re pretty much  guaranteed that social media will give it enormous reach and you’ll get some great brand uplift.

So which of our pensive pugilists is more popular?

Stickybeak asked people on social media in the UK, USA and host country Qatar to get a feel for how this sort of activity plays in different markets.

Ronaldo is more popular than Messi it seems and especially popular with his Qatari hosts. He’s less popular in the UK, no doubt due to his time with polarising club Manchester United where for every adoring Reds fan, he probably has at least one detractor.

But the two are significantly more popular than wannabe global icon, France’s Mbappe who is a distant third.

So for brands, using Cristiano in the UK brings with him issues that are less prevalent in other markets and as football can be a polarising sport, using his image there is more complicated.

Influencers' power also varies with consumers' age.  Lionel Messi may be the favourite of many football purists but it looks like he has less pull with the young who more often follow football for fashion and watch clips not games and so are less impressed with his silky skills than they would be by continuous Instagram content.

Currently Kylian Mbappe is the tournament's top scorer in arguably the best team so far, so consumers are not always the best informed about issues like performance and their personal preference can drive their understanding of performance.

And finally and un-surprisingly, the FIFA World Cup will be most watched by Qataris and least by Americans.

These simple influencer insights from the very channels influencer marketing targets (data here is from respondents on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok) can be collected within a few days and typically costs as little as US$300 per market, a tiny fraction of the amount most brands commit to influencers and their promotion.

If you want to test your influencer strategy before you commit, contact Anna Henwood at and perhaps find out how much awareness or affinity your online target consumers have with your proposed influencer before your commit. And we can get to any market anywhere in the world.

And as we test where your consumers spend their time and where your influencers have their….well…..influence, you can rely on our insights much more than dusty old panels with professional respondents.


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