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Nike!Football's![Soccer]!creative!strategy:! !!

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A!proposal!for!the!understanding!of!! the!communicational!path!of!the!brand!! in!the!last!15!years!(1998D2013)!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! A.$!Research!Paper! [Bachelor!in!Advertising!&!Public!Relations]!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! Gerard!Roda!! gerardroda@hotmail.com!! Directed!by!JosĂŠ!Antonio!Palao! June!2013!


ABSTRACT!&!KEY!WORDS! ! ! ! Abstract:! ! This! paper! will! attempt! to! unveil! and! understand! the! creative! strategy! of! Nike!Football!in!the!last!15!years!(1998$2013.).!From!the!thorough!analysis!of!the! last!four!FIFA!World!Cup!campaigns,!and!the!reading!of!the!literature!about!them,!I! have! been! able! to! deduce! a! valid! model! of! a! global! creative! strategy.! In! every! campaign,!Nike!has!followed!almost!the!same!process.!First!of!all,!Nike!understood! the!complexity!of!the!market!and!its!huge!impact!over!society!(what!I!have!called! the! footballing* universe.)! Secondly,! Nike! understood! that! the! relations! that! are! established! around! football,! because! of! their! nature! and! intensity,! might! be! considered! of! a! religious! kind.! In! this! context,! there! is! a! potential! chance! of! connecting!the!brand!and!its!prospects!almost!in!a!religious!way.!In!order!to!do!so,! Nike!will!send!an!aspirational!message,!meant!to!foster!the!desire!of!the!targets!for! the! divine*status! that! the! football! stars! hold.! This! divine! status,! however,! is! later! broken! apart.! After! all,! gods! and! targets! are! the! same:! “football$mad! kids.”! Their! status! turns! out! to! be! reachable,! and! the! aspirational! message! becomes! inspirational:! Nike! is! the! inspiration! that! “football$mad! kids”! need! to! achieve! the! divine!status.!With!all!this!process,!Nike!generates!an!actual!engagement!with!its! targets,!as!I!will!try!to!prove!with!the!analysis!of!each!FIFA!World!Cup!campaign.! We!will!also!revise!how!did!Adidas!managed!its!communication!throughout!these! years.! Finally,! I! will! outline! an! strategic! framework! (based! on! Nike! Football’s! model)!that!might,!hypothetically,!work!for!other!brands!and!other!markets.!!! (265!words)! ! ! Key!Words:! ! Nike! Football,! creative! strategy,! footballing! universe,! religious! relations,! aspirational!message!and!inspirational!message,!engagement.!!


INDEX! ! ! ! Introduction!…………………………………………………………………………………………………!1! Objectives!&!Hypothesis!………………………………………………………………………………..!2! Theoretical!framework!&!Methodology!………………………………………………………….!3! Structure!of!the!paper!……………………………………………………………………………………!5! Brief!review!of!Nike’s!story!……………………………………………………………………………!6! Results!of!the!research! !

Proposal!of!creative!strategy!……………………………………………………………….!9!

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Analysis!of!the!campaigns:!

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1998!FIFA!World!Cup!–!France!………………………………………………….!17!

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2002!FIFA!World!Cup!–!Japan!&!South!Korea!……………………………..!25!

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2006!FIFA!World!Cup!–!Germany!………………………………………………!34!

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2010!FIFA!World!Cup!–!South!Africa!………………………………………….!44!

Conclusions!……………………………………………………………………………………………………!54! Bibliography!…………………………………………………………………………………………………..!59! !


INTRODUCTION) ) ) ) The!purpose!of!this!paper!is!to!take!a!close!look!to!the!Nike!Football!case,! and! how! a! brand! moved! from! being! completely! out! of! a! market! (the! footballing! market)!to!fighting!for!its!leadership!in!15!years.!Keeping!in!mind!the!marketing! decisions,!we!will!focus!on!the!communicational!performance!of!Nike!and!its!rival! for!the!leadership!of!the!footballing!market,!Adidas.!As!we!will!see,!by!1998!both! brands! were! aware! of! the! fact! that! the! global! leadership! had$ to! be! achieved! through!the!leadership!of!the!footballing!market.!This!raises!our!topic!to!an!upper! dimension:! it! is! not! only! about! the! footballing! market! (just! another! market! segment)! but! about! the! global! market! these! two! brands,! Nike! and! Adidas,! are! struggling!for.!The!analysis!of!the!communication!of!these!two!brands!(focusing!on! the!advertising!creative!strategy)!in!the!FIFA!World!Cups!of!the!last!15!years!is!the! subject!of!this!research.!Secondarily,!this!paper!also!attempts!to!study!how!a!brand! can!join!up!a!new!market!successfully!(like!Nike!did!with!the!footballing!market.)! Ultimately,! I! will! try! to! extract! a! valid! strategic! model! of! a! successful! and! meaningful! relation! between! a! brand! and! its! prospects 1 ,! one! that! could! be! hypothetically!applicable!for!other!brands!and!markets.! !

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ) ) ) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1!Throughout!this!paper,!I!will!be!using!the!terms!target!group,!targets!and!prospects!indistinctly! !

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OBJECTIVES)&)HYPOTHESIS) ) ) ) Objectives:) ) !

Unveil! and! understand! the! creative! strategy! of! Nike! Football! through! the! analysis!of!the!its!last!four!FIFA!World!Cup!campaigns.!!

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To! the! extent! possible,! extrapolate! this! creative! strategy! and! find! a! valid! strategic!model!for!other!markets.!

! ! Hypothesis:) ) Nike!Football’s!communicational!success!is!due!to!four!factors:!! 1. A!clearly!defined!and!internalized!brand’s!identity! 2. A!deep!and!precise!knowledge!of!the!market!and!the!targets! 3. A! powerful! and! effective! creative! strategy,! that! allows! the! brand! to! deliver!meaningful!messages!and!create!an!engagement!with!its!targets! 4. A!communicational!coherence!maintained!throughout!the!years! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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THEORETICAL)FRAMEWORK)&)METHODOLOGY) ) ) ) According! to! my! research,! there! is! no! specific! literature! about! this! issue.! I! have! searched! on! the! libraries! of! the! Universitat! Jaume! I! (Castell贸,! Spain,)! the! Murray! State! University! (Murray,! KY,! United! States)! and! the! Bilkent! University! (Ankara,! Turkey,)! but! could! not! find! any! previous! work! that! may! serve! as! a! precedent.!So,!according!to!my!research,!there!is!no!bibliography!approaching!the! creative!strategy!of!Nike!Football.!There!are,!however,!some!articles!(in!specialized! magazines!such!as!Adweek,!BusinessWeek,!Marketing!Week!or!Sports!Illustrated)! that! discuss! the! campaigns! individually! (1998,! 2002,! 2006! and! 2010! FIFA! World! Cups.)! So! I! made! a! selection! of! the! most! interesting! literature! about! each! campaign.!I!revised!401!articles!from!the!following!databases:! ! Y

Academic!Search!Complete!

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Business!Source!Complete!

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Communication!&!Mass!Media!Complete!

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SocINDEX!with!Full!Text!

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Sociological!Collection!

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SPORTDiscus!with!Full!Text!

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Lexis!Nexis!Academic!Universe!

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JSTOR!

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Career!and!Technical!education! !

From!this!401!articles,!I!made!a!final!selection!of!30,!which!will!be!the!main! bibliographic!core!of!this!work.! The!creative!strategy!that!I!propose!in!this!paper!comes!from!the!reading!of! these! articles! and! the! analysis! of! the! audiovisual! pieces.! From! the! thorough! viewing! of! each! of! the! four! commercials,! and! from! the! reading! of! the! literature! about!each!one!of!them,!I!have!been!able!to!give!the!topic!a!global!sense.!Once!I!had! a!global!understanding!of!the!path!of!Nike!Football!in!the!last!15!years!(and!that! involves! other! campaigns! done! by! Nike,! the! comprehension! of! its! identity,! the!

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understanding!of!the!market!and!the!competition‌![Adidas,])!I!was!able!to!deduce! the! proposed! creative! strategy.! And,! once! I! had! deduced! this! creative! strategy,! I! applied!it!for!the!analysis!of!each!campaign!(in!chronological!order),!confirming!its! validity!and!its!accuracy.!Thus,!the!method!for!the!analysis!of!each!campaign!has! been!the!following:! ! 1. Brief! review! of! the! sporting! outcome! of! the! World! Cup! (and! what! it! meant!for!the!brand)! 2. Short!analysis!of!the!circumstances!that!surrounded!Nike!(and!Adidas)! by!the!time!the!World!Cup!arrived! 3. Description!of!the!audiovisual!piece!and!of!the!significant!extensions!of! the!campaign! 4. Analysis!of!the!campaign,!following!this!structure:! a. Creative!strategy! i. Build!the!divine$status! ii. Foster!the!divine$status$ iii. Break!apart!the!divine$status$ iv. Offer!the!divine$status!to!the!targets! b. Targets!&!protagonists!(how!do!they!relate!with!each!other?)! c. Footballing!knowledge!(how!does!Nike!show!its!knowledge!of!the! footballing!universe?)! d. Production!and!other!aspects!to!keep!under!consideration! e. What!did!Adidas!do?! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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STRUCTURE)OF)THE)PAPER) ) ) ) The!paper!will!follow!a!chronological!order;!that!means!it!will!start!with!the! analysis!of!the!1998!FIFA!World!Cup!campaign!and!will!end!up!with!the!analysis!of! the! 2010! FIFA! World! Cup! campaign.! In! total,! I! will! be! analyzing! the! 1998,! 2002,! 2006!and!2010!FIFA!World!Cup!campaigns.!The!FIFA!World!Cup,!celebrated!every! four!years,!is!the!key!event!in!football!(i.e.,!the!most!global!promotional!space,)!and! Nike!and!Adidas!focus!the!most!of!their!communicational!(and!economical)!efforts! on!it.!The!UEFA!Euro’s!are!also!important,!and!Nike!and!Adidas!use!it!to!promote! themselves! as! well.! Nevertheless,! for! space! and! time! reasons,! and! after! making! sure!these!analysis!would!only!reinforce!my!arguments,!I!decided!to!focus!only!on! the!FIFA!World!Cup!campaigns.!Despite!this!fact,!and!precisely!because!of!this!fact,! I!will!make!reference!to!the!UEFA!Euro!campaigns!from!time!to!time!to!strengthen! my!points.! Before! getting! into! the! analysis! of! the! campaigns,! however,! we! will! take! a! brief! look! at! Nike’s! history! and! how! and! when! they! decided! to! join! up! the! footballing! market.! This! will! give! us! some! basic! but! necessary! premises! for! the! best!understanding!of!this!paper.! Right!after!this,!I!will!expose!in!detail!the!proposed!creative!strategy!and!I! will! explain! the! main! concepts.! By! doing! so,! I! pretend! that! the! analysis! of! each! campaign! works! as! a! confirmation! of! the! proposed! creative! strategy.! Thus,! with! the! study! of! each! campaign,! we! will! be! examining! the! concrete! examples! that! confirm,!I!believe,!the!validity!of!my!proposal.! Finally,! in! the! last! part! of! the! paper! I! will! summarize! the! most! important! points! of! the! paper! and! extract! some! conclusions! out! of! them.! In! addition,! I! will! outline! a! proposal! of! creative! strategy,! based! on! Nike! Football’s! one,! but! with! an! hypothetical!application!for!other!brands!and!other!markets.! ! ! ! ! !

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BRIEF)REVIEW)OF)NIKE’S)HISTORY) ) ) ) )

As!it!is!asserted!on!their!website,!in!January!1964!Nike,!Inc.!was!“founded!

on!a!handshake,!$500!and!mutual!trust”!by!Bill!Bowerman!and!Phil!Knight,!while! both!of!them!were!enrolled!on!the!track!and!field!team!at!the!University!of!Oregon.! Beginning!as!distributors!of!the!Tiger!running!shoes,!by!the!Japanese!Onitsuka!Co.,! soon!they!started!to!manufacture!their!own!shoes!and!ask!the!University!of!Oregon! runners! to! wearYtest! their! creations.! The! Nike! name! came! up! in! 1971,! while! the! Swoosh! symbol$ made! its! first! appearance! one! year! later! (NikeInc.com.)! After! a! decade! of! growing,! with! Steve! Prefontaine! as! the! first! endorsed! athlete! of! the! brand!(idem,)!by!the!end!of!1980!Nike!went!public,!selling!2.4!million!shares!at!$11! apiece! (Holmes:! 2004.)! In! 1985! Nike! started! its! successful! relation! with! the! NBA! rookie! Michael! Jordan! (NikeInc.com,)! shaking! up! the! market! with! the! Air! Jordan,! the!bestYselling!athletic!shoe!of!all!time!(Holmes:!2004.)!Two!years!later,!the!brand! from! Oregon! presented! a! new! feature! of! their! footwear,! the! Air! Bag,! in! a! totally! revolutionary! way.! With! an! advertisement! built! around! the! famous! song! “Revolution”! by! The! Beatles,! Nike! made! its! first! huge! impact! with! a! television! campaign!(“Revolution.”)!In!1988,!Nike!coined!the!inspirational!“Just!Do!It”!slogan.! The!tag!line!was!conjured!up!by!Dan!Wieden,!from!the!advertising!agency!Wieden! +!Kennedy,!who!got!the!idea!from!the!final!words!of!a!man!that!was!executed!for! murder!in!Utah!(“Art!&!Copy.”)!But!it!would!not!be!until!the!90’s!when!Nike!would! decide!to!approach!the!football!business:!“While!Nike!had!designed!footwear!and! apparel!for![…]!soccer!for!a!number!of!years,!the!midY1990s!signaled!a!deepening! commitment!to!truly!excel!in![this!sport]”!(NikeInc.com.)! !

Thus,! “appealing! to! fans! of! the! world's! most! popular! sport”! became! the!

main! priority! of! the! company! (Himelstein:! May! 1997.)! As! Thomas! E.! Clarke! (president! of! New! Business! Development! of! Nike,! Inc.)! stated,! "once! we! set! our! sights! on! being! a! global! company,! we! had! to! focus! on! soccer"! (idem.)! The! 1994! FIFA!World!Cup,!that!was!hosted!in!the!United!States,!became!the!launching!pad!of! the! brand’s! incursion! into! the! football’s! realm,! with! the! signature! of! some! important! players! of! the! Brazilian! national! team! plus! the! entire! team! one! year!

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after! (NikeInc.com.)! Nike,! in! the! middle! of! a! huge! controversy,! paid! the! record! figure! of! $200! million! for! a! tenYyear! deal! with! the! national! team.! David! Jones,! director!of!marketing!at!Umbro!USA!at!the!moment,!declared:!"Some!people!focus! on! their! market! by! spreading! a! mile! wide! and! an! inch! deep.”! Peter! Csanadi,! an! Adidas!spokesman!by!the!time,!said:!"We!don't!think!anybody!can!get!near!to!us!on! the! product! side.”! (Himelstein:! May! 1997.)! Clarke,! meanwhile,! just! asserted! that! “you!never!overpay!for!things!that!are!good.”!(idem).!In!the!next!FIFA!World!Cup,! France!1998,!Nike!was!completely!ready!for!fighting!for!Adidas’!leadership!of!the! football! market:! "This! is! going! to! be! our! comingYout! party,"! said! Alexander! Bodecker,! former! viceYpresident! and! general! manager! of! Nike’s! football! division! (idem.)!"Nike!is!trying!to!build!over!the!last!couple!of!years!what!Adidas!has!done! over!the!last!50,"!declared!in!1997!analyst!Josephine!Esquivel!of!Morgan!Stanley!&! Co.! (idem.)! Indeed,! in! her! article! “The! swoosh! heard! ‘round! the! world”,! Linda! Himelstein!asserted!that!Nike!set!2002!FIFA!World!Cup!as!its!deadline!for!reaching! the! leadership! of! the! footballing! market.! And! they! were! not! that! far:! for! the! first! time!in!2004,!Nike’s!share!of!the!football!shoe!market!in!Europe!(35%)!was!greater! than!Adidas!(31%)!(Holmes:!2004.)! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ) RESULTS)OF)THE)RESEARCH:) PROPOSAL)OF)CREATIVE)STRATEGY)) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

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PROPOSAL)OF)CREATIVE)STRATEGY) ) )

Source:!Own!work)

! ! As!it!has!been!already!stated,!I!believe!that!Nike’s!communicational!success! is!due!to!four!factors:!! ! 1. A!clearly!defined!and!internalized!brand’s!identity! 2. A!deep!and!precise!knowledge!of!the!market!and!the!targets! 3. A! powerful! and! effective! creative! strategy,! that! allows! the! brand! to! deliver!meaningful!messages!and!create!an!engagement!with!its!targets! 4. A!communicational!coherence!maintained!throughout!the!years! !

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1.))A)clearly)defined)and)internalized)brand’s)identity) !

! This! is! the! basic! aspect.! If! a! brand! does! not! really! know! itself,! it! will! be!

impossible! to! ever! get! to! know! its! prospects.! But! this! is! not! an! abstract! concept:! the! brand’s! identity! must! be! concrete! and! tangible.! This! corporate! DNA! must! impregnate!it!all.!It!must!make!the!brand!recognizable!and,!to!the!possible!extent,! unique,! memorable.! It! gives! the! brand! a! consistency! that! will! make! its! communication!more!credible,!and!thus!more!likely!to!be!successful.!In!this!case,! the! edgy! and! inspirational! character! of! Nike! are! all! around,! and! hence! the! communicational!guidelines!are!clear!and!coherent.! ! ! 2.))A)deep)and)precise)knowledge)of)the)market)and)the)targets) ! This! is! a! key! issue.! Without! this! knowledge! there! would! be! no! communicational! success.! This! knowledge! is! what! makes! possible! a! real! engagement! between! the! brand! and! its! target.! In! this! case,! the! market! is! what! I! have!decided!to!call!the!footballing$universe.!Comprehending!this!universe!implies! comprehending!the!dynamics!of!the!football!world!from!as!many!points!of!view!as! possible.! Firstly,! Nike! seems! to! understand,! beyond! its! global! dimension,! football! as!a!game.!And!this!idea!of!football!as!a!game!applies!from!the!lowest!to!the!highest! levels.! The! ball! has! a! gamification! element! within! it,! and! hence! everything! built! around! it! becomes! something,! most! of! all,! entertaining.! Football! is,! above! all,! amusing,!enjoyable.!Of!course!this!must!not!be!understood!strictly:!we!will!see!it!in! different!degrees!on!each!campaign.!Still,!we!can!identify!this!notion!clearly!from!a! more!global!perspective.!! Secondly,!a!deep!knowledge!of!the!footballing$universe!entails!knowing!how! people! relates! with! football.! The! bonds! between! teams! and! supporters,! the! treatment! of! the! football! stars,! who! become! almost! gods! for! the! fans…! All! in! all,! football! creates! a! series! of! relations! and! establishes! a! series! of! cults! that! are,! I! believe,!almost$religious.!The!pilgrimage!to!the!stadium,!the!adoration!of!the!idols,! the! faith! on! the! teams…! Not! only! in! form;! these! relations! might! be! considered! religious!also!in!their!intensity.!In!this!environment,!there!is!a!potential!chance!of!

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connecting!in!a!really!deep!way!brand!and!targets,!as!this!connection!already!exists! in!the!context!where!brand!and!targets!interact.!Brands!and!teams!are,!obviously,! not!the!same!actors!in!this!scenario.!They!have!different!purposes!and!the!publics! are! aware! of! it.! Considering! this,! however,! the! strategic! attempt! must! always! be! this!one:!establishing!a!religious$relation!like!the!one!teams!and!fans!already!have.! Because,! again,! just! a! slight! approach! to! this! sort! of! relation! will! be,! probably,! worthier! than! any! other! commercial! relation! that! could! be! potentially! achieved! between!a!brand!and!its!targets.!And!this!knowledge!is!what!allows!the!brand!to! speak! the! same! language! as! its! target.! That! means! the! message! will! be! more! credible!and!more!relevant!for!the!audience.!And!this!is!the!first!step!to!create!an! actual!engagement!between!the!brand!and!its!prospects.!Besides!the!topic!of!each! commercial,! this! knowledge! of! the! footballing$ universe! plus! Nike’s! DNA! will! be! found!in!every!advertisement.!From!the!choice!of!the!subject!to!the!slightest!detail,! everything!will!be!meant!to!touch!the!“footballYmad!kids.”! In!words!of!Paul!Shearer!(Wieden!+!Kennedy),!creative!director!of!the!2002! FIFA!World!Cup!campaign,!the!goal!was!“to!prove!to!footballYmad!kids!that![Nike]! knows! and! understands! football”! (Woodward.)! I! would! have! never! expressed! it! better:! the! target! of! all! these! campaigns! are! the! “footballYmad! kids.”! This! is,! however,!a!twofold!concept.!On!the!one!hand!we!have!the!actual!kids,!mostly!boys! between!10!and!15!yearYold.!On!the!other!hand!though,!we!have!the!figurative!kid! within!the!adult.!With!this!I!refer!to!the!fact!that!the!feelings!that!football!generates! are! always! the! same,! independently! of! the! age.! This! dual! concept! of! the! kid! enhances!the!wideness!of!the!target!group!but!yet!preserves!it!as!one.!This!gives! way!to!lots!possibilities!for!the!brand,!as!it!can!touch!lots!of!different!people!with! the!same!message.!In!other!words,!in!the!footballing!market!exists!the!possibility! of!reaching!very!different!target!groups!(that!are!united!by!their!madness!towards! football)! with! one! same! insight.! So,! besides! their! demographics,! VALS! and! other! differences,!their!only!thing!in!common!is!so!strong!that!they!can!be!labeled!under! the!same!target!group:!“footballYmad!kids.”!(Again,!this!must!not!be!taken!literally;! I!am!trying!to!point!out!the!potential!breadth!of!the!target!group!and!how!we!must! understand!it.)! There!is!an!even!more!interesting!thing!than!this!duality!of!the!target!group.! In! the! way! Nike! understands! football! (as! a! game,)! the! protagonists! (who,!

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apparently,! hold! a! divine$status)! are! nothing! but! “footballYmad! kids.”! That! means! that!targets!and!protagonists!are,!to!a!great!extent,!the!same.!Thus,!there!is!a!direct! dialogue! with! the! prospects! when! the! protagonists! appear:! by! showing! the! protagonists,! Nike! is! also! showing! the! targets! themselves.! Or,! at! least,! somebody! that!could!be!part!of!the!targets.!This!is!such!an!interesting!exercise!for!two!main! reasons.! First! of! all,! the! target! is! always! involved! in! the! commercial! (they! are! no! less!than!the!protagonists!of!the!same!commercial.)!Secondly,!it!starts!the!motion! from!the!aspirational!content!of!the!message!to!the!inspirational!one!(we!will!get! deeper!on!this!later.)!There!is!no!divine$status!if!the!gods!are!just!like!the!prospects:! “footballYmad!kids.”!The!only!difference!is!circumstantial;!in!essence!though,!both! are! the! same.! So! that,! the! apparent! divine$ status! has! been! broken! apart.! Thus,! a! transition!from!an!aspirational!attitude!towards!an!inspirational!one!occurs!in!the! prospects:!what!was!only!desirable!(from!a!contemplative!perspective)!turns!out!to! be!achievable!(from!an!active!perspective.)!The!message,!when!decoded,!moves!the! target! to! action;! it! necessarily! implies! a! feedback,! a! reaction.! Obviously,! this! reaction!will!always!be!related!with!the!consumption!(in!many!ways)!of!the!brand.! ! ! 3.))A)powerful)and)effective)creative)strategy,)that)allows)the)brand)to)deliver) meaningful)messages)and)create)an)engagement)with)its)targets) !

! Once! the! brand! is! completely! aware! of! its! identity,! knows! perfectly! its!

market!(the!footballing$universe)!and!its!targets!(the!“footballYmad!kids,”)!then!it!is! able!to!speak!the!same!language!as!its!audience.!That!means,!the!brand!is!ready!to! deliver!a!meaningful!and!memorable!message!to!its!prospects.! According!to!my!observations,!the!process!of!delivering!the!message!will!be! (more!or!less)!the!same!on!each!campaign.!The!message!that!Nike!will!deliver!will! be,!on!its!inception,!primarily!aspirational.!It!will!create!a!desire!on!the!audience.! But,! far! from! being! real,! the! message! will! create! the! desire! for! something! rather! idealized.!(We,!humans,!seem!to!have!always!a!greatest!desire!for!what!we!know! we! cannot! have.)! Like! a! hook,! it! will! catch! the! audience’s! attention! and! create! a! fascination.! At! this! point,! the! target! will! be! looking! at! the! brand! from! a! contemplative! perspective.! In! order! to! attract! the! audience’s! attention! and! create!

!

12!


this! fascination,! Nike! will! start! what! I! have! called! the! divine$ status! process.! As! I! have!already!asserted,!Nike!is!aware!of!the!almost$religious!relations!that!already! exist!in!the!footballing$universe.!The!goal,!then,!is!to!turn!that!contemplation!into! adoration.!Thus,!the!first!step!will!be!the!building!of!an!actual$divine$status!for!the! chosen! gods! (Nike’s! endorsed! football! stars.)! By! showing! their! outstanding! skills! (unreachable!for!any!average!“footballYmad!kid,”)!Nike!will!depict!its!stars!as!real! gods,!able!to!do!things!humans!would!never!do.!At!this!point,!the!idea!is!to!create!a! distance! between! targets! and! protagonists! in! such! a! way! that! generates! the! aforementioned!fascination:!desire.! Once!the!protagonists!hold!a!divine$status,!Nike!is!in!charge!of!fostering!this! status! and! making! sure! it! is! perceived! this! way! by! the! audience.! It! is! fair! to! say! that,! in! many! cases,! the! same! footballers! build! their! own! divine$ status! by! their! individual! and! collective! performances! on! the! field.! So! Nike’s! role! in! the! process! will! start,! in! many! cases,! not! by! building! but! by! fostering! this! divine$ status.! We! could!say!that!Nike,!from!a!bunch!of!candidates,!chooses!and!erects!those!who!will! indeed!become!gods.!So,!to!a!certain!extent,!we!could!state!that!Nike!is!in!charge!of! legitimating!these!deities.!And!this!is!what!Nike!does!in!the!first!two!steps!of!the! process:! raise! the! legitimate$ gods! and! make! sure! they! are! seen! this! way! by! the! audience.! This!next!step!is!the!key!moment!of!the!process.!It!will!start!the!evolution! from! an! aspirational! message! (that! creates! desire)! to! an! inspirational! one! (that! calls!to!action.)!And!this!is!done!by!disassembling!the!divine$status.!After!building! and! fostering! it,! Nike! decides! to! break! apart! this! divine$ status.! As! it! has! been! already! stated,! at! this! point! the! message! could! only! be! decoded! by! the! audience! from! a! contemplative! perspective;! the! protagonists! and! the! targets! were! still! too! far!from!each!other.!And!fascination!works!very!well!as!a!hook,!but!does!not!last! forever.!Desire,!approached!this!way,!is!ephemeral.!So,!again,!creating!a!desire!with! an!aspirational!message!is!a!great!beginning!(that!is!why!the!creation!of!the!divine$ status!makes!so!much!sense.)!But!if!we!want!our!brand!to!make!a!deep!impression! on!the!target,!we!need!something!else:!we!need!to!become!inspirational.!And!this!is! what!Nike!intended!to!do:!reduce!the!distance!between!protagonists!and!targets!by! breaking!apart!the!divine$status!of!the!formers.!

!

13!


Finally,! after! building,! fostering! and! breaking! apart! the! divine$status,! Nike! offers!it!to!its!targets.!As!I!have!said!before,!it!turned!out!that!the!divine$status!was! not!real,!as!the!gods!are!nothing!but!“footballYmad!kids.”!Then,!what!was!observed! from! afar,! becomes! suddenly! closer;! reachable.! The! previous! aspirationality! has! now! become! inspirational;! it! is! not! about! contemplating! anymore,! it! is! about! just$ doing$it$(notice!the!omnipresence!of!the!brand’s!identity.)!Of!course!there!is!still!a! distance!between!protagonists!and!targets.!But,!as!I!have!said,!it!is!circumstantial.! This! distance,! now,! has! become! a! motivation.! By! the! end! of! the! process,! the! distance! is! nothing! but! an! inspiration:! it! can! be! humanly! overcome.! And! the! best! way!to!do!so!is!the!consumption!(…)!of!Nike.! By! following! this! process,! Nike! has! been! able! to! create! relevant! messages! that!the!targets!recognize!as!familiar!and,!thus,!they!can!believe.!These!messages,! that! start! by! fascinating! the! audience,! end! up! by! inspiring! them,! by! creating! an! active!attitude!towards!the!brand.! ! ! 4.)A)communicational)coherence)maintained)throughout)the)years) !

!

!

Consistence! is! the! only! way! to! make! all! what! has! been! stated! work.! The!

process! I! tried! to! describe! takes! time! and! patience! to! be! successful.! As! I! have! mentioned,! the! fact! that! the! brand! has! a! clearly! identified! corporate! identity! is! what! primarily! makes! possible! the! development! of! all! this! process.! Plus,! the! fact! that!Nike!has!been!working!throughout!the!years,!and!almost!exclusively,!with!the! same! advertising! agency! (Wieden! +! Kennedy! Amsterdam)! helps! to! maintain! a! communicational!coherence.!There!are!no!abrupt!shifts!in!the!strategic!evolution! of!the!brand,!everything!comes!naturally.!! !

! What!we!have!just!revised,!nevertheless,!is!a!global!process.!That!means!we!

will!not!see!all!of!it!on!each!campaign.!As!it!is!obvious,!this!global!process!comes! from! the! sum! of! different! pieces! (the! showing! of! a! footballing! knowledge,! the! identification! between! protagonists! and! targets,! the! divine$ status! process…)! We! can!identify!all!the!described!steps,!to!a!greater!or!lesser!extent,!on!each!campaign.! However,!the!brand!will!emphasize!a!different!aspect!on!each!campaign.!So!that,!as!

!

14!


we! will! observe! with! further! detail! later,! in! 1998! Nike! Football! introduced! itself! (and!all!of!above)!to!the!world,!in!2002!it!focused!on!the!divine!status!process,!in! 2006! in! the! distance! between! protagonists! and! targets! and! in! 2010! in! demonstrating!its!footballing!knowledge.!Thus,!the!global!outcome!is!a!coherently$ built!and!effective!creative!strategy.! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ) )

!

15!


) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) RESULTS)OF)THE)RESEARCH:) ANALYSIS)OF)THE)CAMPAIGNS) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )

!

16!


1998)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)FRANCE) !

!

! ! 1998)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)FRANCE! Winners!

France!(Adidas)!

Runners]up!

Brazil!(Nike)!

Third!

Croatia!(Lotto)!

Adidas)Golden)Ball!

Ronaldo!(BRA)!

Adidas)Golden)Boot!

Suker!(CRO)!

Yashin)Award)for)the)Best)Goalkeeper)

Barthez!(FRA)!

Best)Young)Player)Award!

Owen!(ENG)! Source:!FIFA.com!

! !

The!final,!France!against!Brazil,!was!more!than!a!game:!“it!was!also!a!match!

between! Adidas! and! Nike”! (Steavenson.)! The! final! score,! 3Y0,! with! two! goals! by! Adidas! French! star! Zinedine! Zidane! was,! for! the! German! brand,! “a! dream! story,”! said!Peter!Mahrer,!former!head!of!football!at!Adidas!(idem.)!This!World!Cup!was! supposed! to! be! Nike’s! “comingYout! party,”! declared! Alexander! Bodecker,! viceY president!and!general!manager!of!Nike’s!football!division!by!the!time!(Himelstein:! May! 1997.)! As! a! matter! of! fact,! Nike! moved! on! from! not! sponsoring! any! team! in! 1994! to! sponsoring! six! in! the! 1998! World! Cup! (Steavenson.)! But! Adidas’! “dream! story”!turned!out!to!be!a!nightmare!for!Nike.!In!addition!to!the!tough!defeat!of!its! record>deal!team!in!the!final!(Nike!paid!$200!million!for!a!10Yyear!sponsorship!of! Brazil),!its!last!endorsement,!Ronaldo,!became!the!unfortunate!protagonist!of!the! game.!He!suffered!a!breakdown!just!hours!before!the!game,!what!led!him!to!a!very! poor!performance!in!the!final,!and!raised!up!the!controversy!around!Nike’s!recent! millionaire!deals!both!with!Brazil!and!Ronaldo!(idem.)! "Football!has!become!the!global!battlefield!for!brand!leadership,"!declared! Peter!Mahrer!in!1998!(idem.)!And,!by!the!time!the!World!Cup!arrived,!both!Nike!

!

17!


and!Adidas!were!perfectly!aware!of!it!and!in!an!open!struggle!for!this!leadership.! Nike! released! a! notable! campaign! for! the! UEFA! Euro! 1996,! with! Éric! Cantona! as! the!main!protagonist,!but!this!really!was!their!“comingYout!party.”! ! !For! television,! Nike! and! Wieden! +! Kennedy! Amsterdam! presented! a! 90Y second!spot!titled!“Airport.”!! In!the!commercial!we!can!see!the!bored!members!of!the!Brazilian!national! team!at!the!airport,!waiting!to!take!their!delayed!flight!to!Paris!for!the!World!Cup.! We!witness!one!of!the!less!popular!(but!one!of!the!most!common!though)!parts!of! the!life!of!a!footballer:!wasted!hours!in!hotels,!airports,!long!travels…!But!this!will! not!be!another!average!waiting!at!the!airport;!Ronaldo!picks!a!ball!from!a!bag,!and! the!game!starts.!From!this!moment!on,!we!see!a!series!of!scenes!of!the!Brazilians! playing! around! with! the! ball! and! creating,! almost! literally,! a! chaos! in! the! airport.! Throughout! the! sequence,! we! see! depicted! some! of! the! divine! and! most! representative! characteristics! of! each! of! the! protagonists:! the! great! skills! of! Denilson,! the! dribble! and! clinical! definition! of! Romario,! the! intense! defense! and! the! powerful! shot! of! Roberto! Carlos! and! the! speed! and! talent! of! Ronaldo.! Éric! Cantona,!who!had!just!retired,!also!makes!an!appearance!(as!we!will!see!again!in! future! campaigns.)! The! commercial! ends! up! with! Ronaldo! missing! the! final! shot! (“Airport”.)! ! ! I.])Creative)strategy) ) A.Y!Build!the!divine$status:!! For! its! “comingYout! party,”! Nike! had! to! find! the! best! partner.! And! that! was! the! Brazilian! national! team! in! general! and! Ronaldo! in! particular.! The! gods! had! been! chosen! (and! legitimated.)! By! placing! them! on! a! human! environment,!the!relation!between!the!protagonists!and!the!targets!became! explicitly!distant!(no!“footballYmad!kid”!could!ever!do!that.)! ! ! !

!

18!


!

B.Y!Foster!the!divine$status:! This!was!the!main!goal!for!the!most!part!of!the!commercial:!making! sure! the! protagonists! were! depicted! (and! perceived)! as! deities.! As! mentioned,!the!outstanding!skills!of!the!protagonists!(in!a!divinized$human! environment)! confirmed! their! position,! evidently! above! the! prospects.! At! this!stage!of!the!process,!the!divine$status!could!only!be!desirable,!but!never! achieved.!

! !

C.Y!Break!apart!the!divine$status:! After! an! spectacular! ostentation! of! his! divine! skills,! Ronaldo! misses! the!final!shot,!what!seemed!to!be!the!easiest!thing.!It!is!at!this!point!when!it! all!takes!a!new!dimension.!How!come!He!missed!that?!Because!He!is!just!he.! He!is!just!Ronaldo,!and!that!failure!just!humanizes!him,!brings!him!closer!to! the! targets.! He! is! not! any! god,! and! what! he! has,! the! skills! and! the! status,! become!humanly!reachable:!possible.!! !

!

D.Y!Offer!the!divine$status$to!the!targets:! In! this! advertisement,! this! last! step! is! not! as! obviously! stated! as! it! will! be! in! posterior! campaigns.! However,! what! is! evident! is! that! what! started! as! a! primarily! aspirational! message,! by! the! end! of! the! commercial! turned!into!an!inspirational!one.!Inasmuch!as!the!divine$status!has!become! reachable,! we! may! consider! it! an! invitation! from! the! brand:! Nike! is! presenting! itself! as! the! inspiration! needed! for! the! achieving! of! the! divine$ status.! ! !

II.])Targets)&)Protagonists) !

!

!

With! its! communication! Nike! tries! to! appeal! mostly! to! the! “footballYmad!

kids:�!to!those!youngsters!who!dream!of!becoming!someday!a!footballer,!reaching! that!desired!divine$status,!and!to!those!grownYups!who!suddenly!rejuvenate!when! they! see! a! ball! around,! briefly! coming! back! to! the! aspirational,! old! daydreams.! Here,! the! footballers,! professionals! raised! up! into! a! cult! status,! are! depicted! as!

!

19!


mere! kids! who,! bored! of! waiting! and! spending! the! time! with! infantile! jokes,! challenge!the!authority!and!start!playing.!As!it!appears!obvious,!the!protagonists’! behavior!seems!to!be!closer!to!the!typical!behavior!of!a!“footballYmad!kid”!rather! than!to!the!behavior!of!a!footballing!god.!This!approach!between!protagonists!and! targets,! plus! Ronaldo’s! error,! start! the! motion! from! the! aspirationality! to! the! inspirationality!of!the!campaign.!And!hence,!a!real!engagement!between!the!brand! and!the!prospects!becomes!possible.!The!following!frames!illustrate!this!very!well:! !

!

Source:!“Airport”!

! These!frames!sum!up!all!that!has!been!said.!First!of!all,!we!see!the!target:!the! actual! kid! and! the! kid! within! the! adult.! As! the! yellow! circles! point! out,! we! see! depicted!both!“footballYmad!kids:”!father!and!son!staring!at!Ronaldo’s!mistake!with! the!exact!same!look!on!their!faces.!Roughly!speaking,!we!could!assert!that!the!first! frame! belongs! to! the! aspirational$ stage! of! the! message:! the! targets! still! have! a! contemplative! attitude! (Ronaldo! had! not! failed! the! shot! yet.)! In! the! second! one,! when! Ronaldo! has! already! missed! it,! there! is! an! active! implication! of! the! targets! with! the! kids! lament,! and! a! transition! towards! the! inspirational! content! of! the! message!takes!place.!They!are!not!only!observing!the!situation,!but!being!part!of!it.! At!this!point,!there!is!an!engagement!between!the!brand!and!the!prospects.! ! ! ! ! ! !

20!


III.])Footballing)knowledge:) ! The!piece!is!based!on!two!main!principles:!the!comprehension!of!football!as! a!game!and!the!joy!of!playing!it,!both!perfectly!represented!by!Brazil!and!its!stars.! This! idea,! later! called! “Joga! Bonito”,! will! evolve! and! turn! into! a! campaign! for! the! 2006!FIFA!World!Cup.!Coming!back!to!the!commercial,!what!we!witness!is!a!usual! situation! turned! into! an! unusual! one.! As! we! observe! in! this! advertisement,! Nike! seems!to!bestow!a!gamification!power!on!the!ball;!the!ball!has!the!ability!of!turning! a!boring!situation!into!an!entertaining!one.!

This! will! reappear! in! future!

campaigns.!In!the!UEFA!Euro!2004,!for!example,!Nike!presented!an!audiovisual!in! which!the!players!forget!about!coming!to!the!field!for!the!match!and!start!playing! through!the!tunnels!of!the!stadium!instead!(“Olé.”)!There!is!a!similar!piece!in!the! “Joga!Bonito”!campaign,!in!which!the!Brazilian!players!pick!a!ball!from!a!bag!and! play! with! it! in! the! dressing! room! before! going! to! the! field! (“Joga! Bonito”,! 11:25Y 12:55.)! The! choice! of! the! context! (players! waiting! in! the! airport)! also! shows! how! Nike! knows! the! footballing$universe:! it! is! one! of! the! most! recurrent! (and! boring)! situations! in! the! life! of! a! footballing! star.! Luckily,! the! ball! transforms! completely! this!situation.! Finally,!Ronaldo’s!error!also!talks!about!the!way!Nike!understands!football! and,!from!a!wider!perspective,!sports!in!general:!failure!is!the!only!way!to!success.! But! still,! failure! is! failure;! it! is! not! desirable.! (Nike! will! get! deeper! on! this! in! the! 2010!FIFA!World!Cup!Campaign,!“Write!The!Future.”)!! ! ! IV.])Others) !

! There!are!some!other!relevant!aspects!to!highlight:! !

It! is! important! to! notice! how! the! corporate! DNA! of! the! brand! is! everywhere.! The! way! Nike! constructs! and! deconstructs! the! divine$ status$ in! this! commercial,! and! the! relation! it! establishes! between! failure! and! success,! remind! of! the! 1997! Nike! commercial! starring!

!

21!


Michael!Jordan:!“I’ve!failed!over!and!over!and!over!again!in!my!life.!! And!that!is!why!I!succeed”!(“Failure.”)! !

The! same! protagonists! (the! Brazilian! national! team)! and! the! same! song! (different! covers! of! “Mais! Que! Nada”)! will! appear! in! the! 2006! campaign,!“Joga!Bonito”!(11:25Y12:55.)! ! !

V.])Adidas) ! Peter! Csanadi,! an! Adidas! spokesman! by! the! time,! said:! "We! don't! think! anybody! can! get! near! to! us! on! the! product! side”! (Himelstein:! May! 1997.)! Nike’s! communication!was!clearly!focused!on!the!brand,!whereas!Adidas!seemed!to!focus! more!on!the!product.!In!its!30Ysecond!television!spot,!Adidas!and!the!advertising! agency!Leagas!Delaney!(Watts)!showed!a!series!of!black!and!white!images!of!Del! Piero,!Beckham,!Kluivert!and!Zidane.!These!players!were!practicing!their!skills!in!a! surrealist!environment!that!finally!becomes!the!Stade!de!France,!that!would!host! the!final!of!that!edition!of!the!World!Cup.!!A!voiceYover!tells!us!about!the!boots!the! players!are!using!and!a!ball!that!is!hard!to!see!with!the!dim!light,!and!finishes!with! a! line! of! copy! that! states! “World! Cup! ’98,! it’s! about! those! in! love! with! the! game! enough! to! do! something! about! it”! (“Soccer! ReYinvented.”)! In! audiovisual! terms,! there! is! a! huge! difference! with! the! “light! and! infectious”! Nike! advertisement! (idem.)! !

!

!

Source:!“Airport”!(left)! “Soccer!ReYinvented”!(right)!

22!


Jenny! Watts,! on! her! article! “Sport’s! superbrands! battle! for! football! ownership,”! called! Adidas’! commercial! “a! more! serious! and! reverential! affair.”! Personally,!it!reminds!me!of!the!famous!“1984”!advertisement!by!Apple!(“1984:”)!

! !

Source:!“1984”!(left)! “Soccer!ReYinvented”!(right)!

! Without!entering!too!much!into!personal!evaluations,!I!find!the!message!of! “Soccer! ReYinvented”! very! weak.! The! unconnected! scenes! does! not! really! match! with! the! copy:! “it’s! about! those! in! love! with! the! game! enough! to! do! something! about!it.”!Plus,!in!my!opinion,!it!is!hard!for!the!target!to!be$touched!by!a!piece!that! seems! to! lack! everything! besides! the! literal! meaning! of! the! visuals.! In! communicational!terms!this!is,!I!believe,!a!missed!chance!of!creating!a!meaningful! bond!between!the!brand!and!its!prospects.!! !

! Adidas!had!been!leading!the!football!market!almost!since!its!inception,!and!

would!continue!that!way!for!the!next!6!years.!Thus,!while!they!were!selling!their! new!boots,!Nike!Football!was!creating!an!identity,!a!language!and!a!universe,!and! providing! itself! with! meaningful! stories! to! tell.! In! 1998! Adidas! was! selling! boots!

!

23!


(cleats)! and! balls;! Nike! was! establishing! a! relevant! connection! with! the! “footballY mad!kids.�!! ) ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

24!


2002)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)JAPAN)&)SOUTH)KOREA) ) ) ) 2002)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)JAPAN)&)SOUTH)KOREA! Winners!

Brazil!(Nike)!

Runners]up!

Germany!(Adidas)!

Third!

Turkey!(Adidas)!

Adidas)Golden)Ball!

Kahn!(GER)!

Adidas)Golden)Boot!

Ronaldo!(BRA)!

Yashin)Award)for)the)Best)Goalkeeper!

Kahn!(GER)!

Best)Young)Player)Award!

Donovan!(USA)! Source:!FIFA.com!

) !

The! 2002! FIFA! World! Cup! (the! first! coYhosted! edition! of! a! World! Cup! and!

the!first!edition!outside!of!Europe!and!America!as!well)!was!a!redemption!for!Nike! after!1998!edition.!Brazil!(Nike)!beat!Germany!(Adidas)!in!the!final,!with!two!goals! of!the!unfortunate!protagonist!of!the!1998!final,!Ronaldo.!As!the!same!FIFA!states! on!their!website,!“for!Ronaldo,!unable!to!perform!to!his!potential!in!the!1998!Final! and!injured!for!so!long!subsequently,!here!was!a!moment!of!redemption.”!This!was! a! great! victory,! not! only! for! Brazil! and! Ronaldo,! but! for! Nike! too.! As! Lehman! Brothers! analyst! Robert! Drbul! declares,! sponsoring! the! World! Cup! winner! gives! brand’s!efforts!"a!sense!of!authenticity"!that!Nike,!still!seen!in!the!world!of!football! as!an!outsider,!really!needed!(Syken.)!! !

The! 2002! edition! had! nine! teams! sponsored! by! Adidas! and! six! by! Nike!

(Watts.)!Same!as!in!1998,!the!final!of!the!World!Cup!put!Nike!(Brazil)!and!Adidas! (Germany)! face! to! face.! In! his! article,! Bill! Syken! referred! to! this! final! game! as! “a! showdown! between! two! companies! battling! for! $2.5! billion! in! worldwide! soccer! business”!(Syken.)!In!this!battle,!Adidas!was!still!number!one!with!$700!million!in! sales!annually,!having!paid!a!fortune!for!the!official!sponsorship!of!the!tournament!

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(Watts.)! Nonetheless,! however! good! and! helpful! this! sponsorship! might! be! for! Adidas,! it! is! not! definitive.! Jenny! Watts! said! to! this! respect:! “Nike! has! not! [the! World! Cup’s! official! sponsorship],! but! its! footballYcentric! advertising,! which! has! provoked! cries! of! ‘ambush! marketing’! from! FIFA,! will! give! it! a! strong! association! nevertheless.”! As! a! matter! of! fact,! after! the! 2002! World! Cup,! “British! marketer! OMD!found!that!(…)!more!British!consumers!thought!Nike!was!the!official!sponsor! than!thought!Adidas!was”!(Gregory.)!Obviously,!spending!a!huge!amount!of!money! in! a! sponsorship! like! this! is! a! worthless! effort! if! the! brand! does! not! get! the! recognition! of! the! target.! This! fact! speaks! for! itself! about! how! both! brands! have! taken! the! most! (or! not)! of! their! economical! and! communicational! efforts.! There! must! be! something! wrong! when! a! brand! spends! a! huge! amount! of! money! on! an! sponsorship! and! gets! less! credit! and! a! weaker! connection! with! the! event! than! a! brand! that,! at! least! officially,! has! nothing! to! do! with! it.! This! reinforces! the! relevance! of! this! paper,! as! it! shows! the! paramount! importance! of! the! communicational!efforts!in!the!fight!for!the!leadership!of!a!market.! !

! For! the! 2002! FIFA! World! Cup,! Nike! and! Wieden! +! Kennedy! Amsterdam!

came!along!with!a!threeYminute!television!spot,!“The!Secret!Tournament,”!that!was! also! presented! in! 60! and! 30Ysecond! versions.! Another! 60Ysecond! television! spot! called! “The! Rematch”! (3:12Y4:12)! was! released! later! as! a! continuation! of! the! campaign!(Woodward.)!Besides!the!television!part,!advertising!ran!also!on!cinema,! print,!outdoor,!radio,!Web,!specialYevent!advertising!and!an!interactive!3YD!game! (idem.)!All!in!all,!Nike!spent!$155!million!in!all!sorts!of!marketing!activities!around! the! World! Cup! (Syken.)! Paul! Shearer,! creative! director! of! the! campaign,! declared! that! the! goal! was! “to! prove! to! footballYmad! kids! that! [Nike]! knows! and! understands! football”! (Woodward.)! In! this! quote! we! find! the! two! elements! I! asserted!would!determine!the!future!success!of!the!brand:!the!target!very!clearly! identified! (both! kids)! and! the! deep$ comprehension! of! the! football! world! and! its! dynamics!(the!footballing$universe.)!Early!in!March,!Nike!released!the!teaser!of!the! campaign,! that! would! run! during! April! and! May:! a! scorpion! logo! (idem.)! Neil! Simpson,! Adidas'! head! of! global! brand! concepts! and! advertising! by! that! time,! declared:!“In!1998,!Nike!came!out!early!and!stole!a!march,!but!I!think!now!they've! come!too!early.!The!creative!work!isn't!as!innovative!or!original!as!it!was!in!1998.!

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Because!of!that!they!won't!have!the!lifespan!to!last!until!the!tournament”!(Watts.)! By!these!words,!Adidas!seemed!to!be!admitting!defeat!from!1998!struggle.!About! this! campaign,! Klaus! Filbry,! head! of! football! for! Adidas! America! by! the! time,! asserted:! “It’s! three! on! three! in! a! cage.! That's! not! soccer”! (Gregory.)! Trevor! Edwards,! Nike's! viceYpresident! for! global! brand! management! at! the! time,! responded:! "I'm! happy! they! would! dismiss! something! that! millions! of! people! around!the!world!are!playing"!(Gregory.)! !

“Hidden!from!the!world,!twentyYfour!elite!players!hold!a!secret!tournament,!

with!eight!teams!and!only!one!rule:!First!goal,!wins”,!announces!a!voice!over,!as!we! see!a!big!boat!in!the!middle!of!the!sea!at!night!(“The!Secret!Tournament.”)!Inside!of! the!boat,!a!big!cage!contains!a!small!football!ground:!“The!surreal!atmosphere!—all! dim! lights,! chains! and! steel—! offers! a! hint! of! what! is! to! come:! a! noYholdsYbarred! competition!that!spares!no!sympathy!for!the!losers”!(Woodward.)!With!the!former! player! Éric! Cantona! acting! as! the! “ringmaster”! (Watts)! of! the! tournament! (an! “eccentric! maestro”,! as! Woodward! would! call! him,)! throughout! the! threeYminute! spot! we! see! a! series! of! spectacular! three! on! three! games! between! the! stars.! The! final!game!of!the!tournament!was!described!by!Sarah!Woodward!as!follows:! ! A!hush!falls!as!the!players!square!off:!Thierry!Henry,!Francesco!Totti!and!Hidetoshi! Nakata! against! Luis! Figo,! the! aforementioned! Carlos,! and! the! monoYmonikered! Ronaldo.! While!waiting!for!Cantona!to!drop!the!ball!into!play,!Henry!whispers!to!Totti,!who!bends! down!as!if!to!tie!the!laces!of!his!Nike!sneaker.!Their!opposition!looks!confused,!but!there!is! a! strategy! behind! the! gesture:! As! the! ball! drops! into! play,! Henry! steps! back! then! leaps! forward,! launching! himself! into! the! air! —springboard! style—! off! Totti's! hunched! back.! Hurling! himself! at! the! ball,! Henry! headbutts! it! down! the! length! of! the! field.! Carlos! backpedals! and! tries! to! block,! but! misses;! it's! a! goal.! Cantona! chuckles! devilishly! at! the! play.!A!white!Nike!swoosh!and!“Nikefootball.com”!appear!supered!on!a!black!screen.!The! spot!closes!on!a!shot!of!several!players!jumping!overboard!into!the!harbor.!Cantona's!voice! can!be!heard!ushering!them!off:!“Losers!go!home.!ByeYbye.”!

!! !

For!this!commercial,!Nike!Football!and!Wieden!+!Kennedy!Amsterdam!seem!

to! have! merged! the! essence! of! 1998! FIFA! World! Cup’s! campaign! (the! joy! of! the! game)! with! the! surreal! and! fictionalized! look! of! the! UEFA! Euro! 2000! one! (“The! Mission.”)!! ! !

27!


Source:!“The!Mission”!(left)! “The!Secret!Tournament”!(right)!

! ! ) I.])Creative)strategy) ) A.Y!Build!the!divine$status:!

The! surreal! atmosphere,! the! incredibly! skillful! players,! the! crazy! moves…! raise! the! players! to! a! divine$ status.! They! are! seen! as! gods,! unreachable!for!the!average!target!viewer.!At!this!point,!the!aspirationality! is!pretty!far!from!being!real,!possible.!Nevertheless,!it!creates!an!enormous! sense!of!adoration,!almost!in!religious!terms.!!! ! !

B.Y!Foster!the!divine$status:! !The!series!of!commercials!shown!(with!different!games,!in!spots!of! 60!and!30Ysecond!long)!kept!this!status!alive,!maintaining!the!same!concept! with! different! creative! pieces.! The! “lifespan”! of! the! campaign,! that! Neil! Simpson! from! Adidas! asserted! would! not! last! until! the! tournament,! was! ensured!with!the!launch!of!“The!Rematch”!advertisement,!in!which!the!two! teams! that! played! the! final! of! “The! Secret! Tournament”! were! face! to! face! again.! In! this! case,! there! was! no! cage,! and! the! format! of! the! game! was! different!(“first!to!one!hundred!wins.”)!The!envelop!was!new!and!fresh,!but! the!content,!the!essence,!was!the!same.!

! ! !

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!

C.Y!Break!apart!the!divine$status:! As!important!as!creating!and!fostering!the!divine$status!is!to!break!it! apart:!make!it,!in!terms!of!aspirationality,!accessible,!real.!In!order!to!do!so,! in!1998!Ronaldo,!after!an!epic!series!of!moves,!missed!an!easy!shot!in!the! end! becoming,! suddenly,! human.! In! this! case,! a! craftiness! by! Henry! ended! up! with! the! final! game.! What! was! expected! to! be! the! most! amazing! and! incredible! game! of! them! all! turned! out! to! be! the! quickest! and! less! spectacular!one.!What!is!the!point!with!being!such!an!skillful!superstar,!like! Figo! or! Roberto! Carlos,! if! somebody! can! beat! you! with! just! a! witty! move,! without! any! sort! of! divine! skills?! Again,! this! divine$ status! we! are! talking! about! has! been! redefined! and! brought! closer! to! the! prospects.! Now! it! is,! indeed,!reachable:!anyone,!not!just!football!stars,!could!have!done!that.!

! !

D.Y!Offer!the!divine$status$to!the!targets:! Nonetheless,!all!in!all!the!campaign!was!still!far!from!the!target.!The! more! realistic! situation! of! the! airport,! plus! the! innovation! factor,! made! of! 1998!campaign!a!more!effective!effort!of!bringing!closer!brand!and!target.! In!this!case,!though,!the!surreal!atmosphere!and!the!obvious!fiction!kept!the! brand!inevitably!a!little!too!far!from!its!prospects.!However,!Nike!Football,! in! a! brilliant! move,! decided! to! run! a! real! ! “Secret! Tournament”! all! around! the! world.! The! dynamics! and! the! rules! were! the! exact! same! ones! of! the! commercial.!Around!90.000!teams!signed!up!(Watts,)!and!it!gave!the!brand! and! the! campaign! “a! more! approachable! feel”,! as! Jenny! Watts! asserted.! Following! the! process,! after! creating,! fostering! and! breaking! apart! the! divine!status,!Nike!had!to!offer!it!to!its!targets.!And!they!did!it!in!the!best!of! possible! ways:! involving! the! prospects! in! the! commercial,! make! them! an! actual! part! of! it,! offering! them! the! chance! of! actually! being! one! of! the! protagonists.! In! short,! giving! the! aspirationality! a! real! sense;! making! it! inspirational.!This!will!be,!probably,!the!best!and!most!successful!example!of! the!brand!offering!the!divine$status!to!the!targets.!

! ! !

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II.])Targets)&)Protagonists) ! Same! as! in! the! 1998! FIFA! World! Cup,! this! campaign! targets! the! “footballY mad! kids.”! As! I! pointed! out! then,! these! kids! are! the! youngsters! on! the! one! hand,! and!the!kid!within!the!grownYups!on!the!other.!However,!like!in!1998,!Nike!depicts! the! same! players! as! “footballYmad! kids.”! We! can! see! this! very! clearly! in! the! way! they! behave! throughout! the! commercial:! arguing,! pushing! each! other! against! the! walls! of! the! cage,! laughing! when! somebody! has! just! been! humiliated,! dancing! to! celebrate!the!goals,!mocking!the!others…!This!kind!of!attitudes,!and!how!they!are! represented,! are! completely! childish.! In! a! certain! way,! by! presenting! the! footballers!(that!means,!the!gods)!as!kids,!Nike!attempts!to!show!who!they!really$ are:!just!“footballYmad!kids”.!! “The!Secret!Tournament”!is!a!tribute!to!football,!to!real!football.!In!this!case! Nike! pays! homage! to! street! football,! to! those! friendly! games! without! many! rules! beyond!scoring.!In!a!certain!way,!Nike!is!using!elements!of!the!institutional!football! world!(professional!footballers)!to!bring!the!football!back!to!whom!it!belongs:!the! target! (the! “footballYmad! kids”).! In! order! to! do! so,! they! put! the! members! of! the! institutional!football!world!(the!footballers,!the!gods)!in!an!scenario!that!belongs!to! the!prospects.!Thus,!the!distance!between!protagonists!and!targets!is!reduced,!and! the!identification!with!each!other!becomes!possible.! ! ! III.])Footballing)knowledge:) ! It!is!said!that!football!is!for!the!clever!ones.!As!I!mentioned!above,!the!goal! of! this! campaign! was! “to! prove! to! footballYmad! kids! that! [Nike]! knows! and! understands! football.”! Thus,! understanding! the! religious! relations! that! are! established,! the! peculiarities! of! the! game! and! its! dynamics! from! inside! of! the! footballing!world!will!become!of!paramount!importance.!In!a!deeper!knowledge!of! this! sport! from! inside,! Nike! will! have! its! biggest! competitive! advantage! over! Adidas.!! Football!is,!in!many!cases,!unfair.!The!best!does!not!always!win.!And!there!is! a! certain! amount! of! luck! involved! in! the! victory,! maybe! more! than! in! any! other!

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sport.!But,!besides!all!this,!football!is!for!the!clever!ones.!A!quickYwitted!action!can,! in!many!cases,!determine!the!outcome!of!a!game!or!a!whole!competition.!And!that! is!part!of!the!game.!Being!in!a!good!physical!condition!or!being!skillful!are!parts!of! the! game.! But! being! clever! (and! sometimes! even! playing! crafty)! is! an! important! part!of!the!game!as!well.!In!this!case,!Nike!chose!to!show!this!in!order!to!prove!to! “footballYmad!kids”!their!understanding!of!this!sport.!In!this!commercial,!the!final! game!is!decided!by!a!craftiness!of!Thierry!Henry!who,!above!and!beyond!the!rules,! proved! to! be! the! cleverest! one! and! gave! the! victory! to! his! team.! The! laughter! of! Cantona,! “ringmaster”! of! the! competition! (the! one! who! set! the! rules,)! while! he! whispers! “Respect…”! legitimate! the! action.! If! there! was! any! doubt! about! its! validity,!it!disappears!with!Cantona’s!reaction,!that!represents!more!a!recognition! of! the! quality$ of! the! craftiness! (part! of! the! game)! rather! than! any! kind! of! disapproval.! By! showing! this,! I! believe,! Nike! accomplished! the! objective! of! demonstrating! its! deep! knowledge! of! football.! Hence,! a! greater! engagement! between!brand!and!targets!is!also!achieved,!as!the!targets!feel!the!brand!as!a!close! one!that!talks!the!same!language.! ! ! IV.])Others) ! There!are!some!other!relevant!aspects!to!highlight:! !

Brazilian!film!director!Terry!Gilliam!was!in!charge!of!this!television!spot,! presenting,! in! words! of! Jenny! Watts,! “slick! production! values! and! epic! storylines.”!

!

The! choice! for! the! soundtrack,! a! remix! of! Elvis! Presley’s! “A! Little! Less! Conversation”,! helps! the! narrative! going! through! while! enhancing! the! meaning! of! the! commercial:! from! aspirationality! (“a! little! less! conversation”)!to!inspirationality!(“a!little!more!action.”)!

! ! V.])Adidas) !

For! the! 1998! FIFA! World! Cup,! Adidas! and! the! advertising! agency! 180!

Amsterdam! presented! a! 60Ysecond! television! spot! named! “Footballitis.”! After! the!

!

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“more!serious!and!reverential!affair”!of!1998!(Watts,)!in!this!case!Adidas!shifted!to! a!lighter!approach,!applying!humor!in!order!to!make!the!brand!more!“accessible”! (idem.)!The!campaign!features!“scientists!at!the!Institute!of!Footballitis!conducting! experiments! on! football! stars'! obsession! with! the! game”! (idem,)! always! from! a! lightYhearted!perspective.!Neil!Simpson,!Adidas'!head!of!global!brand!concepts!and! advertising,! declared:! “It! is! tempting! when! you're! involved! to! feel! the! need! to! be! superior!and!on!a!pedestal,!but!we!are!a!sports!brand!at!the!event.!We!shouldn't! take! ourselves! too! seriously.! The! sport! is! the! most! important! thing”! (idem.)! In! 2002,! Adidas,! with! $700! million! in! annual! sales,! was! still! ! No.! 1! in! the! football! market!(Syken.)!Adidas!spent!$40!million!on!2002!for!World!Cup!marketing;!Nike! spent!$155!million!(idem.)!Plus,!as!Watts!stated,!!“while!its!centerpiece!TV!ads!may! remain! epic,! Nike! strives! hard! through! its! integrated! marketing! [the! video! game,! the! football! tournament…]! to! make! the! brand! accessible! to! sports! fans.”! Confirming!the!validity!of!my!proposal,!in!2002!Jenny!Watts!wrote:! ! The! past! four! years! have! seen! the! rivals! present! their! sports! stars! in! markedly! different! lights.! Nike! positions! its! star! players! as! aspirational! and! invincible! superheroes,! using!a!demonstration!of!their!skills!brilliantly!filmed!in!seamless!sets!to!get!us!to!engage! with! them.! However,! it! has! also! dabbled! with! taking! its! players! off! their! pedestals! by! shifting! to! a! more! empathetic! approach! —! as! shown! in! “Airport,”! for! instance.! Nevertheless,! with! its! slick! production! values! and! epic! storylines,! Nike's! advertising! supplies!an!aspirational!positioning.!Adidas!prefers!to!show!its!human!side.!

!

!

!

It!seems,!then,!that!both!brands!were!concerned!about!being!“accessible”!to!

fans,! to! bring! themselves! closer! to! their! targets.! However,! each! brand! chose! a! totally! different! approach:! “Nike's! approach! treats! football! with! reverence! —! designed!to!appeal!to!the!game's!diehards.!But!it's!one!which!Adidas!believes!is!too! exclusive! and! distant! from! the! average! football! fan”! (Watts.)! This! would! explain! the!words!of!Neil!Simpson!and!their!choice!of!a!totally!different!strategy!than!the! one!used!in!1998;!Adidas!believed!than!an!approach!to!the!game!from!a!humorous,! lightYhearted! perspective! (as! they! already! attempted! on! the! UEFA! Euro! 2000! campaign! [“Amsterdam”])! would! generate! a! relevant! engagement! between! brand! and! targets.! Though! this! might! work! strategically! pretty! well! in! most! of! the! markets,!I!believe,!it!is!not!the!strongest!and!most!meaningful!connection!a!brand!

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can! make! with! their! prospects! in! the! football! market.! In! my! opinion,! establish! humorYbased!relations!in!a!market!where!religious!relations!can!be!achieved!(and! are,! indeed,! achieved! between! fans,! teams! and! players)! is! not! a! good! strategic! decision.!As!we!have!already!discussed,!the!strategic!attempt!must!always!be!more! ambitious! and! look! for! the! religious$ engagement.! Being! oblivious! to! this! fact,! as! Adidas! seemed! to! be,! means! nothing! but! a! deep! ignorance! of! the! footballing$ universe.!Again,!in!the!depth!of!this!knowledge!of!the!football!world,!I!believe,!lies! the!biggest!competitive!advantage!Nike!will!have!over!Adidas.! !

! In!2002,!Lehman!Brothers!analyst!Robert!Drbul!predicted!that!Nike!would!

eventually! take! the! top! spot! of! the! football! market! (Syken.)! In! 2005,! for! the! first! time!ever,!Nike!would!have!more!market!share!than!Adidas.! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

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2006)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)GERMANY) ) ) ) 2006)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)GERMANY! Winners!

Italy!(Puma)!

Runners]up!

France!(Adidas)!

Third!

Germany!(Adidas)!

Adidas)Golden)Ball!

Zidane!(FRA)!

Adidas)Golden)Boot!

Klose!(GER)!

Yashin)Award)for)the)Best)Goalkeeper!

Buffon!(ITA)!

Best)Young)Player)Award!

Podolski!(GER)! Source:!FIFA.com!

! !

The! 2006! FIFA! World! Cup! took! place! in! Adidas’! homeland,! Germany.!

Jonathan!Gregory,!a!former!Puma!marketer,!would!declare!a!little!after!the!end!of! the! competition:! “There! is! no! doubt! that! Adidas! has! really! gone! allYout! this! year.! (…)!As!a!German!company,!you!get!the!feeling!they!really!wanted!to!push!its!home! advantage! to! challenge! Nike's! perceived! dominance”! (Barrand.)! This! “perceived! dominance”!refers!to!the!fact!that,!for!the!first!time!ever,!in!2004!Nike's!share!of! the!football!market!in!Europe,!35%,!exceeded!Adidas,!31%!(Holmes:!2004.)!But!a! World!Cup!in!its!home!country!was!such!a!good!occasion!for!Adidas!to!come!back! to! the! leadership! of! this! market;! Guenter! Weigl,! global! head! of! Adidas! Soccer! by! the! time,! said:! "Soccer! is! our! brand's! pride! and! joy,! and! we! will! always! fight! to! increase! our! global! leadership! in! soccer"! (Carofano.)! For! the! campaign! of! 2006,! Adidas!spent!almost!$200!million,!while!Nike!spent!a!little!more!than!$100!million! (Gregory.)! Once! again,! both! brands! were! aware! that! global! leadership! had! to! be! reached!through!football!leadership.!To!this!respect,!Adidas’!Weigl!claimed:!"As!the! leading! soccer! brand! in! the! world,! we! want! to! use! the! biggest! sports! platform! in! the! world! to! demonstrate! that! we! are! also! the! leading! global! sports! brand”!

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(Carofano.)! The! battle! for! the! football! (i.e.,! global)! market! started! again.! "I! don't! think!it's!a!question!of!whether!we!have!to!win!this!battle,"!Adidas’!Weigl!said,!"We! are!going!to!win!this!battle"!(Gregory.)!On!the!other!hand,!Don!Remlinger,!Nike's! global! football! chief! by! the! time,! declared! that! global! football! business! for! Nike! doubled! since! the! 2002! World! Cup! (Carofano:)! "We're! very! happy! with! our! position.! If! it's! making! others! uncomfortable,! that's! not! our! issue"! (Gregory.)! By! 2006!Adidas!would!have!more!share!of!the!market!than!Nike,!although!the!global! figures!were!more!favorable!to!Nike.! ! ) Revenue)(12)months)) Net)income)) (12)months)) Market)capitalization) One]year)change)in) stock)price) Global)share)of)football) market)

Adidas) $9.5!billion! $537!million!

Nike) $14.7!billion! $1.4!billion!

$11.2!billion! 34%!

$21.3!billion! 5.9%!

38%!

31%!

As!of!May!9,!2006! Source:!NPD!Sports!Tracking!Europe!(quoted!by!Gregory,!2006)! !

! !

For! the! 2006! World! Cup,! Nike! and! Wieden! +! Kennedy! Amsterdam!

presented! a! series! of! videos! (on! Nike’s! website,! YouTube! and! also! some! on! television)!under!the!slogan!“Joga!Bonito,”!Portuguese!expression!that!means!“Play! Beautiful”.!In!the!first!commercial,!we!see!the!former!player!Éric!Cantona!barging! in! a! TV! studio! and! interrupting! the! live! broadcast.! Acting! like! the! leader! of! a! revolutionary! group! with! some! demands! to! make,! he! encourages! the! audience! to! recover! what! seemed! to! be! lost! in! football:! “skills,! heart,! honor,! joy,! team! spirit.”! Before!leaving,!Cantona!asks!the!audience!to!stay!tuned,!giving!way!then!to!a!black! screen! with! a! text! that! invites! the! user! to! “join”! the! movement! at! Nike’s! website! (“Joga! Bonito.”)! By! midYFebruary! 2006,! Nike,! partnering! with! Google,! launched! Joga.com,! “a! global! socialYnetworking! site! for! soccer! fans! that! mimics! MySpace.com”!(Gregory.)!Users!could!organize!pickup!games,!share!videos!of!their! own! skills…! The! growth! of! the! social! network! was,! in! words! of! Don! Remlinger,! general!manager!of!Nike!football!at!the!time,!“exponential”!(Carofano,)!and!by!midY !

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July! 2006! it! reached! 1.000.000! members! (Gregory.)! The! site! was! meant! to! "take! advantage!of!kids'!insatiable!appetite!for!soccer!and!help!us!go!beyond!traditional! media! and! become! a! distribution! platform,"! said! Adam! Roth,! U.S.! advertising! director! at! Nike! in! 2006! (Klaassen.)! Pete! Blackshaw,! chief! marketing! officer! at! Nielsen!BuzzMetrics,!asserted:!"By!enrolling!consumers!in!shaping!the!marketing,! Nike! is! figuring! out! what! kind! of! microcontent! audiences! want! and! nurturing! deeper! bonds! of! loyalty! and! advocacy"! (Holmes:! 2006.)! Always! looking! for! a! meaningful!engagement!between!the!brand!and!its!prospects,!Mark!G.!Parker,!CEO! of! Nike! at! that! time,! declared:! "A! strong! relationship! is! created! when! someone! joins! a! Nike! community! or! invites! Nike! into! their! community"! (Holmes:! 2006.)! "That!goes!way!beyond!somebody!saying,!‘Oh,!yeah,!I!saw!a!commercial,’"!said!to! this!respect!Trevor!Edwards,!Nike’s!vice!president!for!global!brand!marketing!by! then!(Gregory.)!Same!as!in!2002,!Nike!tried!to!go!“beyond”!traditional!media,!with! a!!campaign!based!on!a!“youthYdriven!buzz”!(Gregory,)!and!towards!a!closer!and! stronger!relation!with!the!target.! ! ! I.])Creative)strategy) ) A.Y!Build!the!divine$status:!! The! greatest! exponents! and! icons! of! the! brand,! Ronaldinho! and! Ronaldo,! already! had! this! divine$ status! conferred,! both! from! their! outstanding!individual!performances!and!from!earlier!Nike!campaigns.!But! we!can!still!see!the!traces!of!the!construction!of!this!status!at!the!beginning! of!the!“Touch!of!Gold”!video,!when!Cantona,!enlightened!by!the!content!of!a! briefcase!he!seems!to!be!adoring!almost!in!a!religious!way,!whispers!to!the! camera:!“El!Maestro”!(“the!Master.”)! ! !! ! ! ! !

!

36!


! ! ! ! ! ! !

Source:!“Touch!of!Gold”! !

! On!the!other!hand,!emerging!stars!such!as!Cristiano!Ronaldo,!Zlatan! Ibrahimovic! or! Carlos! Tévez! also! had! their! spot! to! show! their! skills! and! achieve!this!same!divine$status!(“Joga!Bonito.”)! ! !

B.Y!Foster!the!divine$status:! Once! the! footballers! had! become! gods,! Nike’s! duty! was! to! reinforce! this! association;! make! sure! the! protagonists! are! labeled! under! a! divine$ status.! In! order! to! do! so,! Nike,! in! different! videos,! showed! their! almost! inhumane$ skills! (Cristiano! versus! Ibrahimovic! [12:55Y13:55]! and! Ronaldinho![4:45Y5:55])!or!a!collection!of!the!highlights!of!Ronaldo!(14:55Y 15:55)!and!Tévez!(16:00Y17:00.)!However,!the!most!impressive!ones!were! ones!recorded!in!an!amateur!way,!showing!Ibrahimovic!kicking!up!in!the!air! a!chewing!gum!and!returning!it!to!his!mouth!(“Chewing!Gum,”)!or!Ronaldo! and!Ronaldinho!testing!their!new!cleats!(“Touch!Of!Gold.”)!The!video!of!the! latter! was! the! most! controversial! one.! In! this! piece! we! could! witness! how! Ronaldinho,!from!the!front!of!the!box,!hits!the!cross!bar!four!times!in!a!row! without!letting!the!ball!touch!the!ground.!This!video,!which!overpassed!the! 12!million!views!(Gregory,)!raised!a!huge!controversy!about!its!veracity.!No! human!could!ever!do!that.!

! !

C.Y!Break!apart!the!divine$status:! Indeed,! the! “Touch! of! Gold”! video! had! been! digitally! altered,! which! originated! different! responses.! Sean! Gregory,! in! his! article! “Global! Game,”! wrote:!“To!Nike,!it's!even!better!that!—!as!many!have!suspected!—!the!spot!

!

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is!digitally!altered.!It!turns!out!Ronaldinho!is!somewhat!mortal,!even!in!his! new!boots.”!On!the!other!hand,!Stanley!Holmes!in!his!article!“Nike!It's!Not!a! Shoe,! It's! a! Community”! (2006,)! wondered! about! this! same! issue:! “Nike! executives,!who!won't!say!whether!they!did!the!editing,!are!clearly!amused! by! the! controversy.! But! the! flap! could! hurt! its! credibility.”! Whoever! might! be! right,! what! is! interesting! for! us! is! the! fact! that,! undoubtedly,! the! divine$ status!had!been!broken!apart.! ! D.Y!Offer!the!divine$status!to!the!targets:! Once! the! divine$ status! had! been! broken! apart! (and! thus,! made! accessible,)! Nike! offers! it! to! the! targets.! If! in! 2002! they! offered! the! possibility! of! participating! in! an! actual! “Secret! Tournament,”! this! time! the! Joga! online! community! and! all! its! possibilities! did! this! function! (the! aspirationality!turned!into!something!inspirational;!from!the!contemplation! and!the!desire!to!the!participation!and!the!action.)!! ! ! II.])Targets)&)Protagonists) ) !

As! I! have! already! pointed! out! before,! Nike! targets! the! “footballYmad! kids.”!

Again,!these!“footballYmad!kids”!must!be!understood!in!a!twofold!way:!on!the!one! hand!we!have!the!actual!kids;!on!the!other!hand!we!have!the!kid!within!the!adult.! According! to! Hitwise! (a! consultant! that! tracks! online! traffic,)! about! 70%! of! the! visitors!of!Joga.com!were!“male,!mostly!in!the!18YtoY24!age!range”!(Klaassen.)!! !

In! the! Joga! series! of! advertisements,! there! is! one! that! explicitly! illustrates!

this!duality!of!the!target!group!!On!it,!we!can!see!old!images!of!Ronaldinho!when!he! was!a!kid!mixed!with!some!images!of!a!contemporary!Ronaldinho.!The!result!is!a! coherent! sequence! in! which! the! old! Ronaldinho! (the! kid)! and! the! contemporary! one! complete! the! same! play! during! an! atemporal! futsal! game! (0:16Y1:16.)! This! atemporality!delivers!the!message!that,!all!in!all,!there!is!only!one!Ronaldinho:!the! grownYup! is! still! a! kid.! In! other! words,! the! “footballYmad! kid”! and! the! god! are! actually!the!same!person.!

!

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!! !

Source:!“Joga!Bonito”! !

With! the! target! of! the! brand! clearly! defined,! this! comes! to! illustrate! perfectly! my! point:! that! both! the! targets! and! the! protagonists! are! just! “footballY mad! kids”! (with! all! the! consequences! I! have! already! pointed! out.)! To! a! lesser! extent,! we! can! also! observe! this! in! the! childish! attitude! of! Rooney! during! the! practice! (10:25Y11:25)! or! when! the! Brazilians! are! playing! just! like! kids! in! the! locker!room!before!becoming!adults!in!the!field!(11:25Y12:55.)! ! ! III.])Footballing)knowledge:) ) !

Once!again,!Nike!insists!on!the!idea!of!football!as!a!game.!In!the!Joga!series,!

we!have!many!examples!of!this:!from!the!street!football!with!Henry!(13:55Y14:55)! to!Rooney!and!the!informal!game!during!the!practice!(10:25Y11:25.)!We!also!have! some!good!examples!of!the!ability!of!Nike!to!capture!certain!aspects!from!inside!of! the!footballing$universe.!These!aspects!are!an!important!part!of!the!football!world,! though! they! are! not! usually! shown! in! the! media:! they! belong! to! the! gods.! In! a! certain!way,!Nike!seems!to!unveil!some!of!the!secrets!of!this!gods,!breaking!apart! (again)! their! divine$ status.! In! the! case! of! the! Joga! series,! we! witness! how! Ronaldinho! and! Ronaldo! test! their! new! cleats! from! a! very! familiar! perspective! (“Touch!of!Gold”!and!“Joga!Bonito”!8:45Y10:25.)!We!also!see!the!Brazilian!players! in!the!bus!and!in!the!locker!room.!It!is!not!usual!to!see!these!kind!of!images!for!the! public,! and! we! see! the! gods! placed! in! an! average! (though! jealously! hidden)! scenario:!in!this!context,!out!of!the!field,!they!become,!as!we!can!see,!humans:!kids.!! !

39!


!

!

Source:!“Joga!Bonito”! !

!

In! addition,! witnessing! what! seems! to! be! a! normal! practice! of! Manchester! United!(and!seeing!the!protagonists,!again,!acting!like!kids)!comes!to!support!the! discussed!point.!The!possibility!of!contemplating!the!players,!without!their!divine$ status!and!in!their!natural!context,!becomes!even!more!relevant!if!we!keep!in!mind! that,! Adidas! for! instance,! never! gave! such! a! close! image! of! the! stars! in! a! real! footballing! environment.! That! seemed! to! be! only! accessible! for! those! who! were! already! inside! this! footballing$ universe,! those! who! hold! the! divine$ status.! But! in! 2006,!after!breaking!apart!this!status,!Nike!offered!it!to!its!targets!in!a!way!that!had! never!been!seen!before.! ! ! IV.])Others) ) !

There!are!some!other!relevant!aspects!to!highlight:! Y

Éric!Cantona!as!the!best!spokesperson!of!the!brand.!Though!retired,! Cantona!still!embodies!perfectly!the!identity!of!Nike.!In!this!case,!as!a! revolutionary! (we! must! remember! the! 1987! commercial! “Revolution;”!this!revolutionary!character!is!in!the!same!DNA!of!the! brand)!who!barges!in!a!television!studio!in!order!to!change!a!state!of! things!that!he!considers!wrong.!He!just$did$it.!

Y

As! we! have! already! pointed! out,! some! videos! and! some! parts! of! others! have! been! recorded! in! an! amateur! way,! uncharacteristic! of! this!sort!of!spots.!As!I!have!already!said,!this!brings!them!a!closeness!

!

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that!had!never!been!achieved!before!between!football!stars!and!the! audience.! Y

The! Brazil! commercial! about! the! “team! spirit”! (11:25Y12:55)! is! a! reminiscence!of!the!1998!commercial.!In!both!cases!the!protagonists! are! the! Brazilian! national! team! out! of! the! field! (although! in! 2006’s! edition!we!end!up!watching!a!play!during!a!game,!it!is!secondary.)!In! both! cases! there! is! a! common! ! situation! altered! by! a! ball,! a! gamification!built!around!it.!Plus,!in!both!cases!the!soundtrack!is!the! same! (though! in! different! versions;! the! one! of! 2006! is! a! modern! cover!of!the!one!that!sounds!in!the!1998!spot.)!

! ! V.])Adidas) ) For!the!edition!of!the!2006!FIFA!World!Cup!in!their!homeland,!Adidas!and! 180! Amsterdam! (Sweney)! launched! the! most! expensive! campaign! in! the! brand’s! history! (Carofano.)! Named! “+10”,! this! concept! refers! to! “the! idea! of! individual! brilliance!within!the!context!of!10!teammates”!(idem.)!The!campaign!includes!two! television!pieces!(“Impossible!team”!and!“El!partido”)!!as!well!as!print!and!outdoor! advertising,! online! presence! and! other! events! (such! as! the! construction! of! a! stadium!in!Berlin!where!fans!could!watch!the!games!on!a!big!screen!and!enjoy!all! sorts!of!surrounding!activities![Gregory.])!The!online!presence,!besides!their!own! website,! consisted! on! a! football! network! within! the! MySpace! site,! which! would! “feature!interviews!with!Adidas!players!as!well!as!behindYtheYscenes!footage!of!its! +10!television!spots”!(Carofano.)!Adidas!also!spent!part!of!its!budget!on!“shutting! out! Nike! ads! on! U.S.! EnglishYlanguage! broadcasts! of! the! games”! (Gregory.)! Plus,! they! reached! some! agreements! to! be! the! only! footwear! company! advertising! on! three!popular!football!websites!of!the!U.S.:!ESPN!Soccernet,!Soccer!on!Yahoo!!and! FIFAWorldcup.com!(idem.)!! When! launching! this! commercial,! consisting! in! two! parts,! Adidas! had! already!coined!the!slogan!“Impossible!is!nothing”.!This!new!concept,!that!did!not! appear! in! the! 1998! and! 2002! campaigns,! will! be! the! key! for! understanding! the! advertisement.! Personally,! I! believe! this! is! the! best! campaign! Adidas! launched! in!

!

41!


the!last!15!years.!As!we!will!observe,!it!shows!some!of!the!aspects!that,!I!believe,! made!Nike’s!campaigns!successful.!The!spot!depicts!a!couple!of!bored!kids!with!a! football! in! a! very! humble! neighborhood.! One! asks! “¿Jugamos?”! (“shall! we! play?”)! They! play! at! odd! and! even! to! decide! who! chooses! first.! By! this,! Adidas! shows! a! knowledge! of! the! footballing! world! that! never! showed! before! (as! it! is! the! most! typical!way!kids!used!to!choose!in!any!pickup!game.)!And!this!is!not!gratuitous:!it! means! speaking! the! same! language! than! the! target,! in! order! to! generate! a! closer! relation,! an! engagement$ (i.e.,! communicational! success.)! The! spot! plays! with! different!levels!of!reality!in!which,!after!all,!what!might!seem!unreal!(impossible)!to! the!viewer!is!real!(possible)!on!the!screen.!The!kids!keep!choosing!their!teammates! (football! stars)! as! they! naturally! show! up.! This! is! another! powerful! insight;! “footballYmad! kids”! use! to! fantasize! and! choose! which! player! they! will! be! during! the!game.!But!at!some!point,!!one!of!the!kids!decidedly!chooses!the!former!player! Beckenbauer! for! his! team.! In! a! great! performance,! his! friend! guffaws! and! asks:! “Beckenbauer!?”!To!his!surprise,!Beckenbauer!(a!version!of!Beckenbauer!when!he! was!a!player)!naturally!joins!the!game!as!one!more.!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Source:!“+10”! !

!

42!


The! already! altered! concept! of! reality,! in! which! football! stars! naturally! come! to! play! a! pickup! game! in! a! humble! neighborhood,! had! been! suddenly! re> altered.!What!is!possible!and!what!is!impossible!has!now!taken!a!new!sense!(even! for!the!protagonists:)!impossible$is$nothing.!The!game!starts!and!the!players!show! their! skills! without! paying! too! much! attention! to! the! rules.! The! tone! of! the! advertisement!is!still!close,!familiar,!resembling!any!pickup!game!played!anywhere! in!the!world.!This!time,!it!seems!like!every!single!detail!is!meant!to!be!recognized! by!the!target;!every!single!detail!is!meant!to!touch!the!target.! !In!the!end,!Adidas!shows!another!characteristic!element!of!football!(both!in! professional! and! amateur! levels:)! the! controversy.! The! discussion! arises! when! Kahn!seems!to!take!out!of!the!goal!a!ball!that!seemed!to!be!in.!The!players,!acting! like! kids,! argue! whether! it! was! or! it! was! not! goal.! Such! a! common! situation! that! every!single!“footballYmad!kid”!would!easily!recognize.!And!then!another!recurrent! situation! for! these! kids:! the! owner! of! the! ball! has! to! leave,! and! thus! the! game! is! over.!That!simple.!In!the!last!shot!of!the!commercial,!we!see!Jose,!the!protagonist,! coming!back!home,!with!his!ball!and!alone;!the!concept!of!reality,!once!again,!has! been!altered!(did!the!stars!really!been!there!and!played!that!game?!Or!it!was!just! the!kids’!imagination?)! ! For!the!first!time,!I!believe,!Adidas!presented!a!meaningful!message!for!the! targets.! In! this! campaign,! Adidas! captured! a! powerful! insight! (the! fantasy! that! surrounds!a!pick!up!game!between!“footballYmad!kids”)!and!expressed!it!in!a!very! recognizable!way!for!the!prospects.!In!addition,!they!did!all!that!consistently!with! the!new!strategic!perspective!the!brand!just!took!(“impossible!is!nothing.”)!This!is,! I!believe,!the!best!campaign!Adidas!has!done!in!the!last!15!years.!As!we!have!seen,! they! imitated! most! of! the! dynamics! that! made! Nike’s! campaigns! successful! (they! showed! a! knowledge! of! the! footballing$ universe,! depicted! the! target! brilliantly...)! However,!they!did!it!their!own!way,!making!clear!their!corporate!identity!is!not!the! same! as! Nike’s.! To! a! certain! extent,! in! this! campaign! seems! like! Adidas! found! its! corporate!identity.!Unfortunately,!in!2010!they!would!forget!again!to!establish!any! emotional$bond!with!their!targets.! ! !

!

43!


2010)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)SOUTH)AFRICA) ) ) ) 2010)FIFA)WORLD)CUP)–)SOUTH)AFRICA! Winners!

Spain!(Adidas)!

Runners]up!

Netherlands!(Nike)!

Third!

Germany!(Adidas)!

Adidas)Golden)Ball!

Forlán!(URU)!

Adidas)Golden)Boot!

Müller!(GER)!

Adidas)Golden)Glove!

Casillas!(ESP)!

Best)Young)Player)Award!

Müller!(GER)! Source:!FIFA.com)

) !

The! 2010! FIFA! World! Cup! was! the! first! World! Cup! ever! hosted! in! the!

African!continent.! !

In!the!World!Cup!of!2010!Nike!would!maintain!its!communicational!success!

over!Adidas.!The!Nielsen!Company!(a!consultant!that!studies!consumers!and!their! habits)!found!out!that!more!people!related!the!World!Cup!with!Nike!than!with!any! other!brand,!though!Nike!was!not!an!official!sponsor!of!the!event!(Koenderman.)! In!2006!Adidas!paid!$350!million!in!order!to!keep!sponsoring!the!World!Cup!in!its! editions! of! 2010! and! 2014! (Gregory.)! But! still,! more! consumers! were! linking! the! football!tournament!with!Nike,!like!it!already!happened!in!2002.!In!addition,!The! Nielsen! Company! also! found! out! that! 30%! of! EnglishYlanguage! references! of! the! online!conversation!went!to!Nike!(more!than!any!official!sponsor.)!Adidas,!despite! its!sponsorship,!only!garnered!14%!(Koenderman.)! ! For! the! 2010! World! Cup! Nike! launched! “perhaps! the! first! example! of! a! successful! large! scale! case! study! of! mobile! phone! marketing,”! as! it! was! stated! in! the!Ad!Review!Supplement!of!28th!March!2011.!This!part!of!the!campaign,!focused!

!

44!


on!the!African!continent,!“worked!because!we!focused!on!integrating!all!mediums! around!a!core!mobile!asset,"!declared!in!the!same!article!Gavin!Rooke,!Group!MD! of! Trigger/Isobar! (the! agency! responsible! of! this! action)! (Ad! Review! 2011.)! Through!different!partnerships,!Nike!created!a!mobile!social!network!that!engaged! over! 800.000! people! (idem.)! In! addition,! Nike! also! wrapped! almost! entirely! a! building!in!the!same!downtown!of!Johannesburg:!“It!featured!90mYhigh!images!of! footballers! Robinho! and! Cristiano! Ronaldo! bordering! a! huge! interactive! digital! platform,! displaying! up! to! 100! messages! each! night! during! the! competition! from! football!fans!worldwide”!(Finweek!2011.)!But!besides!these!more!local!extensions! of!the!campaign,!Nike!and!Wieden!+!Kennedy!Amsterdam!released!a!threeYminute! spot!titled!“Write!The!Future”!and!directed!by!Alejandro!G.!Iñárritu!(“Babel,”!“21! Grams.”)!Same!as!they!did!with!Terry!Gilliam!in!2002!or!with!Guy!Ritchie!in!2008! (“Take! It! To! The! Next! Level,”)! Nike! decided! to! work! with! a! wellYknown! film! director.! Barbara! Lippert! referred! to! the! piece! as! “a! true! viral! phenom”,! and! summarized!its!argument!as!follows!(“Write!The!Future:”)! ! The! inspired! idea! is! that! each! player! (Drogba,! Ronaldo,! Wayne! Rooney,! Franck! Ribéry,!Ronaldinho,!etc.)!is!shown!dreaming!of!how!the!tournament!will!go,!and!the!impact! for!his!own!personal!future!if!he!leads!his!team!to!victory!or!defeat.!This!is!shown!in!terms! of! his! pocketbook,! popular! culture! and! even! global! politics.! And! considering! the! (sometimes!insane)!passion!of!soccer!fans!worldwide,!some!of!it!isn't!so!farYfetched.!!

! ! I.])Creative)strategy) ) !

In!this!case,!the!creative!strategy!Nike!had!been!using!in!the!last!15!years!is!

not! so! clearly! defined.! In! fact,! we! find! a!version! of! it! only! in! the! Rooney! part,! the! only! player! we! see! failing! and! succeeding.! Thus,! this! version! of! the! creative! strategy!is!divided!in!two!obvious!blocks:!when!he!fails!first!and!when!he!succeeds! later.!In!this!case,!though,!the!divine$status!process!is!not!driven!by!the!brand!but! by! the! events.! I! will! examine! the! case! of! Rooney! (the! most! interesting! one,)! as! it! alters!the!usual!dynamic.! ! ! !

45!


C.Y!Break!apart!the!divine$status:! In! the! most! crucial! moment! of! his! career,! the! god! Wayne! Rooney! makes!a!wrong!decision!and!loses!the!ball,!disappointing!a!whole!country.! This!mistake!creates!a!social!commotion,!causing!a!stock!market!dive,!street! riots‌! Rooney,! divinized! by! a! whole! nation,! is! immediately! demonized!! almost!in!a!literal!sense.!Notice!in!the!following!frames!the!strong!religious! connotations!we!are!insisting!on!throughout!this!paper:!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

Source:!“Write!The!Future�! !

46!


What!happens!next?!He!has!lost!his!condition,!his!divine$status,!forever.!His! life,! as! we! see,! changes! radically.! And! his! throne! is! now! occupied! by! another! god! (depicted,! again,! in! religious! terms.)! But! we! can! go! even! further.! It’s! not! only! English! Rooney! losing! his! divine$ status! in! favor! of! French! Ribéry;! it! is! also! the! English!nation!subordinating!itself!to!the!French!one.!The!World!Cup!arouses!more! than!only!footballing!rivalries.!It!has!wider!and!more!global!connotations.!And!this,! though!evidently!exaggerated,!is!depicted!in!this!commercial.! ! A.Y!Build!the!(new!and!higher)!divine$status:! Indeed,! Rooney! made! a! mistake.! But! he! rushes! to! fix! it:! is! there! anything!more!human!for!a!god?!With!his!tackle,!Rooney!becomes!the!savior! of! a! whole! country,! enhancing! his! divine$ status! to! unsuspected! limits.! His! condition! overpasses! the! footballing! limits,! reaching! the! public! sphere.! His! divine$ status! raised! to! an! even! higher! point:! he! becomes! something! more! than!just!a!footballing!god.! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Source:!“Write!The!Future”! !

! II.])Targets)&)Protagonists) ) !

The! identification! between! targets! and! protagonists! is! not! that! obvious! in!

this! commercial.! In! fact,! the! divine$status! of! the! football! players,! and! the! distance! with! the! targets,! is! emphasized! with! other! purposes.! In! this! occasion,! Nike! set!

!

47!


aside!this!closeness!between!football!stars!and!prospects!in!favor!of!the!narrative.! Thus,! in! this! case,! the! responsible! element! of! the! motion! from! aspirationality! to! inspirationality!is!the!thrilling!character!of!the!storytelling.!The!open!ending!after! the! dramatic! ride,! and! the! active! call! to! “write! the! future,�! is! meant! to! move! the! audience!from!desire!to!action.! ! ! ! III.])Footballing)knowledge) ) !

More! than! anything,! this! advertisement! is! a! show! of! the! depth! of! Nike’s!

footballing! knowledge.! As! I! have! already! pointed! out! in! the! case! of! Rooney,! Nike! understands! and! captures! the! nearly! religious! relations! that! football! establishes.! But,!in!addition!to!that,!Nike!also!understands!that!the!global!footballing!culture!is! a!medley!of!local!footballing!cultures.!And!the!World!Cup!is!the!greatest!exponent! of! this! fact.! I! just! mentioned! that! the! identification! between! protagonists! and! targets!is!not!that!obvious.!Still,!as!we!are!about!to!observe,!the!target!group!in!all! its!diversity!is!explicitly!shown!throughout!the!advertisement.!! Nike!is!also!aware!of!the!almost!random!character!of!the!game,!the!amount! of! uncertainty! that! it! has,! and! how! the! outcome! of! a! game! or! a! competition! can! change! in! a! question! of! seconds.! And,! last! but! not! least,! Nike! understands! (and! magnifies)! the! impact! that! football! has! over! society,! and! how! each! society! deals! with!it.! ! A.Y!Didier!Drogba:! He!was!the!star!of!Ivory!Coast!and!the!symbol!of!all!Africa.!In!the!first! World!Cup!edition!in!the!African!continent,!he!had$to!be!in!the!commercial.! While! he! runs! towards! the! goal,! we! witness! all! the! expectations! that! surround! him! personally,! and! the! event! in! general.! We! also! observe! some! typical!scenarios!of!how!the!African!society!watches!and!lives!football.!The! great! joy,! the! drums! and! the! fireworks! when! he! scores! are! followed! by! a! great!deception!when!Cannavaro!saves!the!goal.!All!in!all,!this!is!about!the! passion!of!Africa!for!football.!

!

48!


Source:!“Write!The!Future”! !

! B.Y!Fabio!Cannavaro:! After! a! brilliant! performance! on! the! 2006! World! Cup,! he! won! the! Ballon$ d’Or! of! that! same! year.! In! this! video,! we! see! him! showing! his! defensive!skills!and!saving!a!foregone!goal!by!Drogba.!The!next!shot!shows! a! musical! television! show! starring! Cannavaro! and! beautiful! ladies,! a! very! popular!kind!of!programme!in!Italy.! !

! !

Source:!“Write!The!Future”! !

! C.Y!Wayne!Rooney:! When! it! comes! to! Rooney,! the! music! changes! to! a! rock! and! roll! melody,!very!characteristic!sort!of!music!in!England.!We!see!then!depicted! the!English!audience,!coinciding!with!what!is!more!likely!to!be!the!target!of! the! campaign:! “footballYmad”! youngsters.! Same! as! before,! we! observe! the! scenarios!in!which!football!is!usually!watched!(and!lived)!in!England.!After! Rooney’s! mistake,! we! see! a! collection! of! different,! though! all! angry,! reactions.!The!first!one,!Rooney!himself!throwing!his!cleat!to!his!reflection!

!

49!


and!breaking!the!mirror.!(Nike!shows!again!the!amplitude!of!its!footballing! knowledge:! this! might! be! a! reference! to! the! famous! story! of! Sir! Alex! Ferguson![Rooney’s!coach!at!the!time,!and!who!also!appeared!in!Rooney’s! commercial! of! the! “Joga! Bonito”! series! of! 2006]! throwing! a! cleat! to! David! Beckham!in!the!dressing!room!and!hitting!his!eyebrow![Metro.])!The!riots! on!the!streets,!the!young!fan!tearing!apart!Rooney’s!poster!of!his!wall,!the! media!using!wordplays!to!mock!him…!All!very!English.!As!we!have!already! seen,! in! this! commercial! Nike! intends! to! show! something! more! than! footballing!relations!between!countries.!For!instance,!we!see!two!American! players!of!the!national!team!smiling!faintly!while!reading!an!article!on!the! newspaper!titled!“England!in!RooYins”.!! !

! !

Source:!“Write!The!Future”! !

The! “rooYined”! player! is! then! shown! in! a! very! grey! and! decadent! environment.! It! is! also! interesting! to! observe! how! Nike,! knowing! Rooney! very!well,!magnifies!the!rudeness!aspect!of!his!character!in!the!loser!version! of! himself.! Another! example! of! how! historical! relations! between! countries! are! also! depicted! in! this! spot:! a! billboard! in! front! of! Rooney’s! caravan! imitates!the!poster!we!had!seen!before,!when!the!young!English!boy!tore!it! apart! from! his! wall.! However,! this! time! the! protagonist! is! a! smiley! Frank! Ribéry! and! the! English! red! cross! has! been! replaced! by! the! colors! of! the! French! flag.! Coming! back! to! the! game,! with! a! brave! tackle! (this! bravery! is! also! an! important! feature! of! Rooney),! he! gets! his! divine$ status! back! and,! again,! we! see! more! English! cultural! symbols! and! other! references:! the! Queen,!more!gimmick!headlines!in!the!newspapers!(“Just!Roo!It,”!in!a!wink!

!

50!


towards! Nike,)! the! reaction! of! the! Spanish! players! Iniesta,! Fàbregas! and! Piqué,!the!cameo!of!the!tennis!player!Roger!Federer…!! !

!

!

D.Y!Ronaldinho:! Despite!his!appearance!in!the!commercial,!finally!Brazilian!coach!did! not!call!Ronaldinho!for!the!2010!World!Cup.!The!sponsorship!of!a!player!is! always! a! risky! decision! for! the! brand,! as! this! comes! to! prove.! We! have! already! seen! what! happened! in! the! World! Cup! final! of! 1998,! when! Nike’s! biggest! star! Ronaldo! performed! very! poorly! and! Brazil! lost.! Still,! we! hear! the!samba,!see!the!Brazilian!television!show,!and!the!viral!character!of!the! piece! also! depicted! (with! the! YouTube! videos! and! the! cameo! of! Kobe! Bryant.)!

! !

Source:!“Write!The!Future”! !

! !

E.Y!Cristiano!Ronaldo:! Cristiano! Ronaldo! receives! the! ball! and! sprints! towards! the! rival! goal.!More!cameos,!this!time!by!Homer!Simpson!and!the!actor!Gael!García! Bernal!(who!has!worked!many!times!with!Iñárritu,!becoming!this!a!tribute! to! the! same! director! of! the! advertisement.)! As! Nike! already! did! with! Rooney,! some! particularities! of! the! player’s! personality! are! highlighted.! In! this!case,!and!always!from!a!comic!perspective,!the!egocentric!and!the!star> struck!parts!of!Cristiano!Ronaldo’s!character!are!depicted.! ! ! !

!

51!


)

Source:!“Write!The!Future”! !

) ) IV.])Others) !

There!are!some!other!relevant!aspects!to!highlight:! !

About!the!production,!the!narrative!and!the!visuals,!and!the!work!of! Iñárritu,! Barbara! Lippert! wrote! on! her! article! “Nike’s! Golden! Goal:”! “He's!a!genius!at!weaving!together!multiYdimensional!story!lines!and! playing! with! time.! In! a! serious! film,! this! can! come! off! as! contrived.! For!a!threeYminute!Nike!commercial,!it's!exquisite.”!

!

The! visual! style! (the! tone…)! of! this! spot,! and! some! of! the! filmed! situations,! remind! of! the! UEFA! Euro! 2008! advertisement! (“Take! It! To! The! Next! Level,”)! and! will! reappear! in! the! UEFA! Euro! 2012! one! (“My!Time!Is!Now.”)! !

!

Source:!“Take!It!To!The!Next!Level”!(left)! “Write!The!Future”!(center)! “My!Time!Is!Now”!(right)! !

! ! ! !

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V.])Adidas) ) )

For! the! 2010! FIFA! World! Cup! Adidas! and! 180! Amsterdam! presented! a!

campaign! named!“The!Quest.”! It!was! composed!by!a! main!90Ysecond!audiovisual! piece! and! other! 30Ysecond! versions! for! some! specific! players! (Leo! Messi! as! “The! Spark,”! David! Villa! as! “The! Blaze…”)! Former! player! Zidane,! in! a! similar! role! to! Cantona!in!“The!Secret!Tournament”!and!“Joga!Bonito,”!acts!like!the!narrator!of!the! story.! The! visuals! (special! effects,! light! effects,! slow! motion,! closeYups…)! and! the! voice!over!treat!this!story!like!a!science!fiction!movie.!Or,!more!precisely,!like!the! trailer! of! a! science! fiction! movie.! The! spot! leaves! an! open! ending! and! raises! the! question! about! who! will! “lead! his! team! to! victory.”! After! the! World! Cup,! Adidas! released!a!version!praising!Spanish!national!team!and!David!Villa!(both!sponsored! by!the!German!brand.)! ! !

In! my! opinion,! this! campaign! faces! the! same! problems! of! 1998! and! 2002!

(which!were!brilliantly!overcome!in!2006!though.)!The!biggest!one,!again,!is!that! there!is!no!identification!element!!for!the!target.!In!2006!Adidas!delivered!a!series! of! insights! that! every! single! “footballYmad! kid”! would! easily! recognize! within! him/herself.! In! 2002! they! used! humor.! In! 2010! they! used! outstanding! visuals.! (Notice!also!at!this!point!the!strategic!shifts!the!brand!has!gone!through!in!the!last! 15! years.! Certainly! far! from! keeping! a! consistent! communicational! path.)! In! this! case,! though! it! may! not! be! that! obvious,! there! is! no! meaningful! content.! So! to! speak,!the!shape,!the!surface!of!the!commercial!look!appropriate!but!the!message,! the!core!of!the!communicational!act,!is!still!empty.!There!is!no!engaging!point,!and! hence! the! target! cannot! feel! the! brand! speaks! their! same! language.! It! seems! like! the!brand!does!not!really!know!its!target.!Spectacular!visuals!or!a!finesse!sense!of! humor!would!probably!work!in!any!other!market!segment.!But,!in!the!footballing! market,! brands! have! the! possibility! (and! the! duty)! of! building! deeper! and! more! significant!relations!with!its!targets.! )

)

) ) )

!

53!


CONCLUSIONS) ) ) ) The! first! thing! that! has! been! proved! in! this! paper! has! been! the! communicational!success!of!Nike!Football.!Some!of!the!facts!that!demonstrate!this! are!the!followings:! ! !

Neil!Simpson,!Adidas'!head!of!global!brand!concepts!and!advertising! in! 2002,! defined! the! “Airport”! campaign! (1998! FIFA! World! Cup)! as! “innovative”!and!“original.”!

!

After! the! 2002! World! Cup,! although! it! was! not! true,! “more! British! consumers! thought! Nike! was! the! official! sponsor! than! thought! Adidas!was”!(Gregory.)!In!addition,!around!90.000!teams!around!the! world!signed!up!for!the!real!“Secret!Tournament”!(Watts.)!

!

In! 2006,! the! Joga.com! site! reached! the! million! members! (Gregory.)! The!“Touch!of!Gold”!video!overpassed!the!12!million!views!(idem.)!

!

In! 2010,! again,! more! consumers! were! linking! the! World! Cup! with! Nike.! Moreover,! it! was! found! that! 30%! of! EnglishYlanguage! references! of! the! online! conversation! went! to! Nike,! more! than! any! official! sponsor.! Adidas,! despite! the! sponsorship! of! the! event,! only! garnered!14%!(Koenderman.)!

! In!order!to!reach!this!communicational!success,!in!my!original!hypothesis!I! pointed!out!the!sum!of!four!factors:! ! 1. A)clearly)defined)and)internalized)brand’s)identity) As! we! have! seen,! the! corporate! DNA! of! the! brand! is! omnipresent.! Nike’s! edgy! and! inspirational! character! impregnates! every! campaign.! Beyond! the! particular! message! of! each! commercial,! there! a! style,! tone! and!manners!that!makes!Nike!different,!recognizable.! ! !

!

54!


! 2. A)deep)and)precise)knowledge)of)the)market)and)the)targets) Nike!has!understood!the!religious!relations!that!are!established!in!the! footballing$universe.!The!brand!is!aware!of!the!huge!impact!that!football! has!nowadays!over!society!(indeed,!the!football!market!is!the!key!for!the! global! market! leadership.)! In! addition,! Nike! has! been! able! to! unify! effectively! all! its! prospects! in! one! same! target! group,! “footballYmad! kids,”!and!speak!in!their!same!language.!! ! 3. A)powerful)and)effective)creative)strategy)that)allows)the)brand)to) deliver) meaningful) messages) and) create) an) engagement) with) its) targets) With!its!corporate!identity!concretely!known,!from!a!deep!knowledge! of! the! footballing$ universe,! its! dynamics! and! its! actors,! Nike! has! been! able!to!deliver!meaningful!messages!to!the!“footballYmad!kids.”!This!has! been! done! through! a! brilliant! creative! strategy.! This! creative! strategy! starts!sending!an!aspirational!message!to!the!prospects,!creating!a!desire! on! them.! In! order! to! do! so,! Nike,! aware! of! the! religiosity! of! the! footballing$universe,!raises!the!football!stars!to!a!divine$status.!However,! this! divine$status! is! always! broken! apart! later! on.! After! all,! it! turns! out! that! the! gods! are! just! like! the! targets:! “footballYmad! kids.”! Thus,! the! aspirational!message!(the!desire!of!something!unreachable)!evolves!into! an!inspirational!message.!The!distance!between!targets!and!protagonists! can!be!overcome:!the!divine$status!is!achievable.!Beyond!the!advertising! of!the!products!and!its!promotion,!with!all!this!process!Nike!attempts!to! create!a!deep!and!emotional!connection!with!its!targets:!an!engagement.! ! 4. A)communicational)coherence)maintained)throughout)the)years) As! we! have! seen,! this! process! of! generating! an! engagement! is! complex,!it!takes!time.!Thanks!to!its!very!wellYknown!corporate!identity,! and! the! work! with! one! same! advertising! agency! (Wieden! +! Kennedy! Amsterdam,)!Nike!has!been!able!to!keep!a!communicational$consistency! throughout!the!years.!This!consistency!made!the!brand!and!its!messages!

!

55!


familiar!and!trustworthy.!Without!losing!the!global!perspective,!Nike!has! been!able!to!emphasize!different!aspects!in!different!campaigns!with!the! confidence!of!going!always!in!the!same!communicational!direction.! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Source:!Own!work!

! Based!on!this!model,!I!will!try!to!propose!an!outline!for!a!creative!strategy! that!could!apply!for!other!brands!and!other!contexts:! ! 1. Know)yourself) Define! and! make! tangible! your! brand’s! identity.! Be! specific;! the! corporate! DNA! is! meant! to! be! recognized! and,! to! the! possible! extent,! remembered.! Try! to! have,! as! a! brand,! identifying! elements! beyond! the! visual! identity:! one! tone,! some! concrete! manners‌! This! is! very! elementary,! but! a! good! job! on! this! first! step! will! make! the! rest! easier,! natural!(Nike’s!identity!is!almost!the!only!guideline!that!the!brand!needs! in!order!to!find!its!messages.)! ! ! !

!

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2. Know)your)market) Each! market! has! its! own! particularities! and! dynamics.! It! is! of! paramount! importance! for! a! brand! to! decode! how! the! actors! interact! and!relate!in!this!context.!By!understanding!this,!the!brand!will!find!(or! create)!its!own!spot!within!the!market.!Thus,!the!brand!will!be!able!to! move!naturally!within!this!market!and!fit!in!properly.!Nike!did!this!very! well:!in!1998!it!was!nothing!but!an!outsider!in!a!football!market!ruled!by! Adidas! and,! to! a! lesser! extent,! Umbro! and! Puma.! Nike! created! its! own! space!and!grew!up!from!there.! ! 3. Know)your)target) What!is!the!point!of!having!a!target!group?!Beyond!immediate!sales,! establishing! a! meaningful! longYterm! relation! with! the! brand! (that! implies! surely! more! than! immediate! sales.)! A! brand! must! choose! its! target! group! very! carefully.! But,! rather! than! inventing! it,! this! target! group! must! be! unveiled! from! the! market:! it! must! exist,! the! brand! just! needs!to!discover!it!(sometimes,!discover!it!even!for!themselves,!as!the! duality!of!the!“footballYmad!kids”!comes!to!show.)!If!the!brand!wants!to! be!relevant!for!the!target,!it!must!speak!their!same!language:!know!their! motivations! and! become! familiar! to! them.! The! very! best! way! to! do! so:! become! your! own! target.! Or,! in! other! words:! target! yourself.! I! believe! that,!behind!the!campaigns!for!“footballYmad!kids”,!there!are!nothing!but! “footballYmad!kids”!from!Nike!and!Wieden!+!Kennedy!Amsterdam.! ! 4. Be)relevant) Only!from!a!deep!knowledge!of!the!market!and!the!targets!the!brand! will! be! able! to! deliver! a! meaningful! message.! Do! not! waste! (your)! people’s!time.!Pretend!always!to!touch!the!prospects,!is!the!only!way!to! be! memorable.! Nike! did! this! very! well! with! the! collection! of! insights! displayed!throughout!the!years.!Be!aware!of!the!role!of!the!brand,!create! fascination!about!yourself.!Foster!the!desire,!which!is!always!higher!for! what! seems! unreachable.! Then,! become! accessible,! close.! And,! as! Nike!

!

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did,! deliver! an! inspirational! message:! move! your! audience! both! emotionally!and!physically.! ! 5. Stay)consistent) From! the! guidelines! that! the! brand’s! identity! will! offer,! keep! a! coherent!communicational!path.!As!we!have!seen,!Adidas!has!made!big! shifts! throughout! this! last! 15! years.! It! changed! the! slogan,! the! visual! style,! the! tone‌! and,! of! course,! their! advertising! agency.! Obviously! the! brand!can!evolve!and!change,!but!always!within!the!limits!that!its!own! identity!will!set.! ! ! For! a! further! research,! I! will! leave! opened! the! analysis! of! the! UEFA! Euro! campaigns.!From!my!general!observations,!I!believe,!they!would!confirm!all!what! has!been!stated.!However,!for!a!future!and!more!extensive!research!the!analysis!of! these!campaigns!would!be!surely!interesting.!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

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BIBLIOGRAPHY) ) ) ! Audiovisual)pieces:) ) ! Airport!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!1998!! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YePFGhCC7ro>!! ! ! The!Mission!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2000! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n6GsFdGcx4>!! ! ! The!Secret!Tournament!and!The!Rematch!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2002! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zlX0Sm65zA>!! ! ! OlĂŠ!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2004! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puIg1R85QPQ>!! ! ! Joga!Bonito!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2006! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhqWeGvhaw4>!!! Touch!of!Gold!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2006! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOg3k6QE1X0>!! Chewing!Gum!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2006! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aHF5n1zYbU>!! ! ! Take!It!To!The!Next!Level!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2008! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZAY57h64kE>!!! ! ! Write!The!Future!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2010! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9tlIcdDHi0>!! ! ! My!Time!Is!Now!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!2012! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4qUfOMMCgc>!!! ! ! Revolution!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!1987! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMXhtFikYvI>! ! ! Good!vs.!Evil!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!1996! ! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiWNTrCSIQ4>! ! ! Failure!by!Nike.!Advertisement.!1997! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc>! ! ! Soccer!reYinvented!by!Adidas.!Advertisement.!1998! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwsOnr2zp5U>!! ! ! Amsterdam!by!Adidas.!Advertisement.!2000! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1rtap6e9Y0>!! !

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! ! ! !

!

Footballitis!by!Adidas.!Advertisement!2002! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5kCY_SbjXU>!!

!

Jose!+10!by!Adidas.!Advertisement.!2006! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HriehhPvPk>!!

!

The!Quest!by!Adidas.!Advertisement.!2010! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkKwYJ9PWwI>! The!Quest!Ends!by!Adidas.!Advertisement.!2010! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whkmHzDXFYs>!!!

!

1984!by!Apple.!Advertisement.!1984! <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA>! ! Art!&!Copy.!Dir.!Doug!Pray.!Art&Industry,!2009!

!

! ! !

Literature:) ) !

“By!the!numbers.”!NZ!Marketing!Magazine!JulyYAugust!2010!

!

“How!Nike!won!the!World!Cup.”!Finweek!(Ad!review!supplement)!28!April! 2011!

!

“Taking!the!gap.”!Finweek!27!January!2011!

!

“Watchdog!shows!Nike!tweets!a!red!card.”!Marketing!Week!21!June!2012:! 23!

!

“Revealed:!What!happened!when!Beckham!was!hit!by!a!boot!in!the!face.”! Metro!28!Apr!2009.!7!June!2013!! <http://metro.co.uk/2009/04/28/revealedYwhatYhappenedYwhenY beckhamYwasYhitYbyYaYbootYinYtheYfaceY63349/>!! <http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/apr/11/advertising.football>!

!

Barrand,!Drew.!“Who!won!the!World!Cup?”!Marketing!12!July!2006!

!

Carofano,!Jennifer.!“World!Cup!ad!blitz!kicks!into!high!gear.”!FN:!Footwear! News!17!April!2006:!16!

!

Christie,!Neil.!“We!are!living!in!a!postYdigital!world:!adapt!or!die.”!Marketing! Week!2010!

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Dissertation - Gerard Roda