An image transfer is defined as an attempt made by the sponsors to project certain aspects of a sponsorship-reciever's image to their own product or brand. This is the main reason why numerous high-end car manufacturers are active in golf. A lot of customers think about golf as an "upscale" sport. The manufacturers hope that because of the commitment to golf, their cars will be viewed as "upscale" cars as well.
An image transfer is very effective when using individual athletes as well. If a sympathetic atlete like Thomas Müller or Arne Friedrich advertise a product, the product is going to be viewed more sympatehtic as well.