July 17, 2014

Adidas vs. Nike, Which Brand Really Won The World Cup?

Adidas vs. Nike, Which Brand Really Won The World Cup?

Guest Blogger: Lindsey Freedman


The FIFA World Cup, like all large scale sporting events, is every brand’s dream platform. It gives a brand the potential to be recognized on a global platform while influencing the opinions of millions. The 2014 FIFA World Cup was no different-over $400 million were spent on marketing during the tournament.

What makes the 2014 World Cup so different than past years is that brands have to focus on reaching target audiences across multiple platforms. Jason Klein, ListenFirst’s co-founder and Co-CEO, said, “More than ever before, this year’s World Cup forced brands to think beyond a single platform and instead take a cross-channel approach to engaging fans throughout the tournament.”

Adidas and Nike were the most competitive brands across the multiple online platforms during the 2014 World Cup, despite the many sponsors that included McDonalds, Coca Cola and Sony. What’s so interesting about Adidas and Nike is that Adidas was a 2014 World Cup sponsor, while Nike was not.

Below are some notable reasons why Adidas and Nike were the “winning” brands of the 2014 FIFA World Cup:

For the past 66 years, Adidas has been the leader in soccer products. So, their World Cup sponsorship makes sense for the brand. Adidas was no doubt the most notable sponsor of the World Cup. Their signage and logo were prominently displayed throughout all the stadiums. They even inspired athletes with their “Now or Never” signage that intensified throughout the matches. Adidas also created a Twitter campaign for @Brazuca, the 2014 FIFA World Cup official match ball. Throughout the tournament the account grossed 3.5 million followers. Additionally, both World Cup finalists, Germany and Argentina, were sponsored by Adidas.

Nike, on the other hand, was not a 2014 World Cup sponsor but their presence was well known. Their brand strategy was to sponsor multiple teams and distinguished players for the World Cup. However, Adidas happen to pick the right teams to sponsor in terms of the World Cup final. Furthermore, Nike’s “Winner Stays” video, that featured multiple renowned athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Tim Howard, reached more than 4.2 million views.

ListenFirst, a social analytics company, tracked the growth of brands during the course of the tournament through impacts on social communities, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. Adidas scored a 90.4 while Nike scored a 83.4 indicating that both brands enjoyed substantial and comparable growth throughout the 2014 World Cup. According to the data Adidas was the most talked about brand on Twitter, whereas Nike scored big on Youtube views.

But overall, if a winner had to be declared – we’d say we have got a tie. Despite the millions of dollars spent on Adidas and Nike’s campaigns, they both scored a larger audience that they will be able to influence year-round.

On a side note, Tim Howard, USA goalie, has become a powerhouse brand. He gained over half a million Twitter followers during the World Cup and at one point he was mentioned 55,187 times a minute during the match against Belgium. Howard is in talks with several brands for multi-million dollar sponsorship opportunities, according to a recent interview with ADWEEK.

The FIFA World Cup is definitely one of our favorite events. No one wants to wait another four years, but we look forward to what brands bring to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.



The 10 World Cup Sponsors That Grew the Most in Followers, Fans and Subscribers“- Ad Age

“Adidas won the World Cup battle, but Nike is winning the soccer wars”– Quartz

“Three Brands That Won At The World Cup” – Forbes

“World Cup Hero Tim Howard Talks About Sudden Fame Being a role model is part of the package” – ADWEEK

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