Nike vs. Adidas: World Cup Follow Up

I’ve spent the last week or so searching for information regarding my previous two posts.  Thanks to Matthew Gain and Edelman Digital, I’ve found it.  Nike did, in fact, steal the show from Adidas leading up to the World Cup.

Source - Nielsen via Edelman Digital

According to a study by Nielsen, Nike has taken the largest share of online buzz leading up to the World Cup at 34%.  This more than doubles Adidas’ 16%.  Gain and Edelman argue that the World Cup is long event, and it is, but there’s little doubt Adidas finds itself in a hole.

Adidas ads have been released along with the start of the World Cup, but I find a serious flaw with this strategy.  When you sponsor an event the size of the World Cup, only the Olympics may be comparable, you need to be the aggressor and own the event as much as you can.  Rumors and buzz surrounding the World Cup begins long before the games start, and ignoring the build up is a terrible oversight.  And I’m less than thrilled about Adidas’ ads and their chances of closing the gap on Nike.

The current ads, online and TV, appear disjointed and unrelated, and neither leverages the World Cup sponsorship.  It does not appear Adidas has a clear message in mind, but just randomly firing away.  And missing.

The main ad for Adidas, Fast vs Fast, isn’t bad but the timing is.  Anybody that has seen Lionel Messi play is familiar with his blazing speed and will appreciate the ad.  However, it will constantly be compared to Nike’s Write the Future and it doesn’t stack up.  Their second ad, the online-only “Star Wars Cantina 2010,” isn’t much better, despite its star-studded cast.  Adidas is trying to be fast and original during the World Cup, but I don’t anticipate them being fast or original enough to catch up to Nike.

Now, turning the focus to Nike.  Their ambush of the World Cup has been outstanding.  The following chart shows the buzz they’ve generated versus official World Cup sponsors.  Their well timed delivery of Write the Future has generated outstanding results, but I don’t believe Nike is done.  While Nike has been quiet as of late, I’d be willing to bet they have another marketing push left in them.  If they don’t, I still believe their ambush campaign can already be ruled a success.

Source - Nielsen via Edelman Digital


Filed under Commentary

2 responses to “Nike vs. Adidas: World Cup Follow Up

  1. Hey Brian, I am glad my post was of use. It is an interesting proposition isn’t it.

    Conversations around the Adidas brand will continue to increase in my opinion, whilst the Nike advertisement may have seen the peak of its talkability online. Though that is only my gut feel. If people like you and me keep talking about it, perhaps the buzz will continue to grow for both brands.

    Interestingly the guys at Dow Jones think Adidas is in fact starting to grow more momentum. See here:

  2. Pingback: The curse of Nike's write the future ad.

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