Adidas beats Nike in the other World Cup battle

This was probably the first World Cup to be dominated by social media and, against the odds, it looks as though official World Cup sponsor Adidas has beaten its old enemy Nike in the battle for hearts and tweets.

Research from Adobe shows Nike taking an early lead in the World Cup buzz stakes but Adidas coming back strongly to win the fight.
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It isn’t all about social media of course (Germany won the Jules Rimet trophy by the way, for those of you who were stranded up a mountain); there was also the battle of the ads, which Nike usually wins hands down. But this year’s main Nike effort was rather listless – over-produced and dull. Another example of the extra scope offered by YouTube and the like leading clients and agencies up a meandering garden path perhaps.

The Adidas effort, ‘All In,’ was punchier and essentially a way of flagging a social media campaign (it may make painful viewing for fans of Leo Messi and Luis Suarez).

In another footballing twist, Adidas has also replaced Nike as the kit sponsor for Manchester United, agreeing to pay a staggering £750m over ten years. Nike declined to continue with its arrangement (£30m a year before renegotiation) which is certainly a result for Man U.

Whether or not it proves to be so for Adidas is a moot point. Man U are not in the Champion’s League next season and even these riches may see them struggle to compete with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

I wonder if the appointment as manager of Louis Van Gaal, who steered Holland to third place in the World Cup, was the clincher in this. Would Adidas have paid so much if David Moyes had been left in charge? In which case the Glaswegian had no chance of keeping his job.

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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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