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Rooney Euro finals suspension poses a big problem for Nike and W+K Amsterdam

English footballer Wayne Rooney was the star of Wieden+Kennedy’s 2010 FIFA World Cup opus for Nike, although not the actual tournament alas. The commercial, headlining Rooney among other famous Nike names, was the controversial winner of the Film Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

But now Wayne has blotted his copybook, as is his wont on his appearances for England, by getting himself banned for three matches by UEFA following his sending off for taking a kick at a Montenegro player in England’s last qualifier.

On the face of it this looks extremely harsh (and may be appealed by the English Football Association) but it will rule him out of the three qualifying matches in next summers European Championship Finals matches in Poland and Ukraine. So Rooney may not even be selected for the finals squad by England manager Fabio Capello, who must be seething at the antics of his star player.

Wayne, then, is unlikely to figure in whatever W+K Amsterdam (presumably it will get the gig again) produces for Nike. That’s if the films haven’t been made yet, they might have been. In which case client and agency have an even bigger problem.

The only footballers on the planet with as big a profile as Rooney are Lionel Messi (he’s signed up to Adidas and won’t be playing anyway as he’s Argentinian) and David Beckham (also Adidas and also not playing, for different reasons). so Nike, W+K and Rooney would have had things pretty much to themselves in Poland and Ukraine.

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Will Nike take a flyer on Rooney and Capello? Nike is usually a brave client but that would be positively foolhardy.

Nike’s ‘Write the future’ ad (above) showed Rooney missing a major tournament through losing it on the pitch. Prescient or what?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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