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Adidas, Nike Want World Cup Spotlight

Posted June. 01, 2006 03:00,   


Utterly priceless to marketers are the world’s countless eyes and ears that are on the 2006 Germany World Cup at the moment. It is the reason for such fierce competition among sporting good sellers wanting to sponsor the event. The Wall Street Journal has reported on the heated marketing war between Adidas and Nike, both colossi of sporting goods.

Adidas has been the godfather of sponsors at least in the football world. The company started supplying World Cup game balls since 1970 and has World Cup sponsorship until 2014. Its hyperlink logo is on FIFA’s official website which expects to get four billion hits a day on average during the Games. This has come about through a $350 million contract.

The motto of Adidas’ marketing project is “+10.” It signifies the importance of teamwork in the spirit of World Cup—you plus 10 others on your team. It helps being a German company when your competitor is none other than Nike. FIFA encourages the hosting cities to lend their billboards to the official sponsors before others. This creates a problem for Nike, whose “guerilla marketing” strategy has been about painting the whole town in their logos without becoming the official sponsor—as it has been the case in the past for a few Olympics and international sport events.

But Nike cannot be put down. It returned to the offensive using the star power of the Brazilian team. The idea behind its project, “Joga Bonito (Play beautifully),” is to attract the eyes of football fans by starring the world’s football stars showcasing their acrobatic moves. As the Portuguese motto suggests, the campaign targets Brazilian and Latin American football fans. In cooperation with Google, Nike has set up “joga.com” a website dedicated to the German World Cup.

By promoting its brand image along with its sport fashion products, Nike plans to attract even non-football fans into the world of World Cup football. It is as The Wall Street Journal reported: “the wallets of two companies are open wider than ever.”

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com