The 2010 South Africa World Cup introduced a new era for marketing from a few of the mega-sports brands. With most consumers watching the games on multiple platforms, commenting in “real time” with other fans, while simultaneously picking up background details from content sites, new opportunities presented themselves and the traditional sponsorship model has been revisited.
Adidas went the traditional route and chose to be an official sponsor in the last World Cup. With this status come the rights to commercialize the official tournament ball, and to have their name in the field boards of all the games. Adidas also sponsored several teams and individual athletes who wore their merchandise and acquired image rights for TV and digital media productions. Adidas capitalized on the exposure to introduce new products and move the audience over to their brands digital platforms.
Nike tried something new; they were not official sponsors of the World Cup. They did sponsor several teams and individual players and chose to promote themselves by content generation. Not an official sponsor, they took on the role of ambush marketer with their bright orange shoes making it into much of the game coverage. Nike also put their energies behind engaging the consumers of the games electronically. Consumers were encouraged to edit a video and compete with them on various social networks. The video program garnered 20 million hits over 30 days.
Harvard Business Review reports both brands achieved about 1.7 billion in revenues from the World Cup but Nike was victorious on the digital front with twice the digital interaction. The jury is still out on the long terms gains produced, but Nike certainly comes out ahead for generating unique ways of promoting their content.