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5 World Cup Sponsors Outplayed By Rivals

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- World Cup partners may already know this, but we feel it's worth reiterating: $100 million is a lot to spend for the privilege of being one-upped by your biggest competitors.

Official World Cup partners Adidas, Coca-Cola, Sony, Visa, Hyundai/Kia and Emirates paid roughly $100 million a pop to attach World Cup logos and licensing to their brand. Second-tier sponsors including McDonald's, Johnson & Johnson, Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser and BP's Castrol shelled out $20 million apiece for the same privilege. Yet most of them are about to be upstaged by the very companies World Cup partnership was supposed to fend off.

Guerilla marketing happens. It's a common, if not annual, occurrence at the Super Bowl and March Madness and it certainly happens at the World Cup. Whether it's national team sponsors elbowing in or direct competitors exploiting vulnerable counterparts with help from their hired pitchmen, there are always routes around that pesky and expensive official sponsorship route.

We've already mentioned how Landon Donovan's absence affected companies who thought he would make the U.S. Men's National Team roster, but there are other companies who'd love nothing more than to pick their competitors' and FIFA's pocket. We found five examples of companies who dumped a whole lot of their annual marketing budget into poaching their rival's precious World Cup air time:

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