As the 2014 World Cup kick-off coming on the 12th June, the excitement is soaring. Even for people who aren’t massive football fans, the World Cup still means something. Partly because of the hype created by big brands’ persistent marketing. This once-in-a-millennium event means something remarkable for many brands.

There are billions of passionate fans in 32 countries, making a huge potential market for brands ( The World Cup marketing battles have already heated up among the brands. And in some, we are already getting some ideas of who is going to win this year.

Nike’s #RiskEverything

Nike, while not an official sponsor of FIFA World Cup, has made itself to the top of social media marketing without using the words ‘World Cup’ or ‘FIFA’.

Instead, it has successfully framed its messages around it using #RiskEverything on YouTube and #nikesoccer on Twitter, featuring amazing casting like Ronaldo, Neymar and Rooney.

Its Vine account also uses hashtags with its product names, like the one featuring Kobe Bryant and Iniesta. Fans are asked to post and share their original vine videos, featuring Nike’s football shoes.



Now let’s look at its direct competitor, Adidas, which is the official sponsor for 2014 FIFA World Cup.


Adidas’s #allin or nothing

The ‘all in or nothing’ campaign is Adidas’s biggest ever campaign in terms of media spend’, according to Marketing Week. Adidas’s new World Cup campaign, featuring Messi has a strict philosophy. Viewers are asked to choose ‘all in’ or ‘nothing’ at the end of the video. And only those who choose ‘all in’ are invited to take part.

(Adidasfootball on Twitter) So, who is the winner so far? I would say it’s Nike. It’s a big win in terms the casting (come on, even Ronaldo’s girlfriend and Incredible Hulk are in it). And the number of views on YouTube (though Nike’s campaign started earlier).


But it’s not just that. I personally feel that Nike’s videos are more cheerful with some fun jokes, while Adidas’s is a little bit tense. ‘I will give my heart for my country.’? Oh please, I thought the World Cup was going be in Rio de Janeiro, not Pyongyang. Nike seems to be better at capturing both passionate football fans and the general public. Having said that, we will never know as the both brands seek to create real-time conversations using social media after the kick-off (see Creative Review).

More into betting than kicking?

Not everyone is into sports, as in “run and sweat” kind of thing. So how companies should market to those who ‘passively’ engage with the World Cup? Big betting companies like William Hill’s ‘‘Make Every Moment Matter” campaign tell the viewers that every aspect of a game including corners and penalties is a ‘chance to bet’ (see Marketing Magazine). Even for people who don’t play the football, every moment in a match can be thrilling.


Not so bad, if you compare with its competitor Ladbrokes whose ads attracted negative responses and complaints from the advertising watchdog for ‘glamorising gambling’. (see Campaign).


Paddy Power seems to be ahead in the game by featuring Professor Stephen Hawking in its intelligent marketing campaign (PR Week). Here’s Professor Hawking’s analysis on England’s chance to win based on “general logistic regression modelling”.


Suddenly the odds of winning seem to be higher, doesn’t it? What do you think? Appnova is a digital agency specializing in web design, UX, e-commerce, branding, digital marketing and social media. Keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff. Images: PR Week





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