World Cup 2014 marketing: FIFA partner Adidas cranks up social media; Nike warming up for ambush campaign?

Adidas Nike share of voice 090514

With only 30 days to go to kickoff, Adidas and Nike’s World Cup 2014 marketing strategies are ratcheting up.

Online buzz in the US for the week of May 3 to May 9, 2014 shows Adidas winning by a handy length as the SociaLitmus chart above shows. Nike’s share of voice World Cup-wise across all major social media platforms registered only 5% compared to Adidas which captured 95% of mentions.

This online state of affairs should satisfy soccer’s governing body FIFA which brooks no nonsense from brands flouting World Cup marketing rules. In March the organizer issued a warning to non-sponsor brands about free riding on official sponsors’ coattails. At the last World Cup in 2010, FIFA famously sued a Dutch brewer for allegedly trying to hijack attention by dressing two fans in orange, the brand’s colors. The case was settled out of court.

Adidas averaged 134 social media mentions a day in the past week, with a total of 938. Majority of these were on Twitter, where an EA-branded soccer ball and Panini sticker book were being raffled off to retweeters of the promotion. Mentions of Adidas made up roughly 10% share of voice overall for all the keywords being monitored, which generated over 10,000 mentions. Keywords being tracked on SociaLitmus include the US Men’s National Team (USMNT), US team captain Clint Dempsey and player Landon Donovan, and official FIFA partners and sponsors.

Adidas mentions 090514


Nike may be relatively quiet, but it would be foolhardy to think that the sports brand would not try to pull off another Johannesburg. Nielsen research figures for the 2010 World Cup show that online buzz about Nike was twice as high as that of official sponsor Adidas. In fact Nike was the number one brand associated with the World Cup, followed by Adidas.

Repeating its playbook in 2010, Nike on May 9 released a slick World Cup-themed ad, Take It To The Next Level, which was directed by Guy Ritchie. Their 2010 ad, Write The Future, received over 14 million views during the event. It will be interesting to see what else Nike has up its sleeve for 2014.