Full disclosure, I’m a Canadian and I am trapped in a hotbed of German
soccer football fans. I not only don’t regularly watch football, but the only time I ever have gone to a professional game is because my friend gave me free tickets to the Vancouver Whitecaps. The tickets included a free stadium tour and it was leg day, so I figured I would probably walk a lot. Nonetheless I am not even close to an expert on anything to do with football but I do study the brands involved so I will look at it from my usual perspective.
adidas Sponsors FIFA until 2030.
Clearly having the ball that everyone is playing with and having your name on the sideboards that half the world will see is a powerful piece of advertising. We know that the cost of that was around 70 million dollars for 2014 but with adidas football revenue potentially crossing 2 billion dollars, it only cost at most 2.5% of all football revenues. This partnership will make it a lot harder for Nike to overtake adidas as the dominant player in football for at least 2014. Point adidas.
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adidas Releases Half of a Commercial
When I was in school learning marketing one of the best definitions of what a “marketer” does is tell stories. The story that Nike released in it’s Winner Stays campaign is clear, funny, exciting, and appeals even to the fair-weather fan. From the get-go, I knew enough of the stars in the Nike film to understand who was who and even though they never explicitly said “FIFA World Cup” we all knew exactly what “major worldwide football event” they were risking everything for. More or less, I completely understood the story from start to end. The adidas spot was well put-together and had a great concept. It also received a ridiculous amount of overnight views (fueled mostly by the fact that it featured Kanye West’s unreleased track “God Level”) but lacked a coherent story. The longer and more complete version of the advert was later released and it tells a story, but the Nike commercial still dominated the web. Point Nike.
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Nike Picks up 6 of the 10 Most Marketable Footballers
Compared to adidas’ 3 and Puma’s 1 Nike pulls far and away in this category. Especially by having Ronaldo who is the undisputed most marketable footballer according to Repucom. Point Nike.
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Nike Takes the Favourite, but adidas Bets the Spread.
If you take only the teams that adidas and Nike are backing and put them in a bubble so that the World Cup tournament is only 19 teams then you can get a very interesting view as to who better spent their hundreds of millions of dollars on teams for the World Cup. Most people who had to wager serious money are looking at four teams: Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Germany. Brazil is partnered with Nike however the other three are with adidas. Although Brazil is the favourite, Nike has placed all of it’s eggs in one basket. In my opinion, I would rather be in adidas’ shoes as the overall odds are in their favour. Point adidas.
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adidas’ Brazuca Account Gains Followers
In the world of social media, both camps have been very successful. Perhaps, the biggest social highlight however was the creation of the cheeky and effective “brazuca” account on Twitter. The personified ball encourages engagement with both consumers and players. The value of real-time social media is incredibly evident with this account as it is relaying messages within seconds of results and events. The account easily passed 1 million followers on June 14th and is poised to keep growing over the course of the tournament. Also, according to Business Week adidas won Twitter the month before the World Cup. Point adidas.
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Final Score: adidas 3 Nike 2
It seems as if adidas has the early lead in this shootout, and as with the predicted sales for this year it looks like they will still win the football market. It’s quite early to predict who will win the World Cup from a company perspective, but with an estimated 70 million dollar sponsorship deal it is clear that adidas would love to see any final combination involving Argentina, Germany, or Spain. As much as I still don’t understand the beautiful game it is quite obvious that the world’s spotlight is on the world’s premiere footballers. The game has just begun, and it will be interesting to see what happens when the semifinals come around. The real brand champion my be crowned with the final match, but either way it’s going to be a fun ride en route.