Genius brands in our Digital IQ Index: Sportswear Adidas and Nike went head-to-head in advertising for the world cup season to start June 12. In April, Nike launched the Risk Everything campaign starring World Cup gods Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Wayne Rooney, and Andres Iniesta. In the 4-minute slot, children playing a neighborhood game envision themselves as those soccer stars and eventually transform to the players in a soccer field with thousands of cheering fans.
Adidas created a similar spot in May. The video titled The Dream stars Argentina player Lionel Messi in bed dreaming of the days leading up to the big game. Dani Alves and Luis Suarez make appearances as Messi’s opponents. The Dream toppled Nike from its top spot among World Cup ads with 25 million views in the first week. The clip featured an unreleased song from Kanye West, adding to its allure.
Nike’s video did not mention the World Cup because rival Adidas is a sponsor. As mentioned in our study, sponsorship can be a powerful tool for harnessing social energy for events, which Adidas has done. However, these packages no longer come with the promise of exclusivity as competitors can promote themselves alongside the event on YouTube, Twitter, and other digital channels. (See Newcastle’s non-Super Bowl ad.) To take full advantage, sponsor brands need to be just as active on digital channels as their competitors pre- and post event, if not more.