Thursday, April 20, 2006

Let's See Who Wins (Nike Vs Adidas)

Yesterday I was browsing through the newspaper and a topic that struck to my mind was the "2006 FIFA World Cup" in Germany, which will be hosted between June 9 and July 9 this year. I saw an article on Franz Beckenbauer, President of the Organising Committee for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with the new logo and the football.(Check for the new hi-tech football here.)

The Europeans are fanatics when it comes to football, it’s not a game for them,it’s a culture for them.Forget wine & monuments, Germany during the 2006 World Cup,would be a party ground. Whether you’re into football (soccer that is) or just like a good party, you'll be swept along in the fever of it all. Fans will come from all over the world and even if you don’t know a thing about football the rules,the events, packed bars and roaming parades will make for a heady atmosphere. Afterall, it’s the one sporting event that gets the world, and especially Europe, truly excited. The USA and a few other places are just a little slow to catch up. The party will kick off in Berlin with an Olympics-style gala featuring parades, costumes, puppets, light shows, and fireworks.

All this is fine but the excitement and the creativity that is raining before the event picks momentum is something really exhilarating. Take for example the Ad war between "Nike" and "Adidas".Soccer remains the beautiful game, but the tussle in Europe between Adidas and Nike over soccer gear is getting ugly. Maybe Nike’s ads are going over better in Europe.Adidas, founded by the German cobbler Adi Dassler ,led the merchandising market there for decades. But Nike is catching up fast,and not everyone is pleased. Many Europeans resent the latter’s growing share—partly because, unlike Adidas, Nike has practically no history in soccer, and partly because, well, Nike is American and Adidas isn’t.

The fight for share ain’t over yet,and it won’t ever be over."Nike" is American, and "Adidas" is European. Europe is not going to let its sport—soccer, or whatever you call it,roll over and go to an American company. It’s like everyone wants to preserve its own Olive Tree, as mentioned by Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" .(Reading this book not done with it entirely)

The Flick: A burly, bearded man with an accent sits at a video-editing console. He cues up some old footage of a little kid playing soccer. Then he intercuts this with modern-day scenes of the kid all grown up, still playing soccer. Kid and man both execute some astonishing moves, bewildering their opponents and scoring goals at will. "So my advice to you," says the bearded man, "is never grow up, my friends." As the spot ends, we see the words "Joga Bonito" and a Nike swoosh. ( Click Here and wait till the countdown reaches 100 and place the mouse over the right-hand side of the screen to see the ad, called "Ronaldinho—Joy.".Refer to the pic as below to track the video.)

I'm excited to see Nike turning its full attention to soccer, its forte being tennis, golf and other US-centric games and sports. In the 1990s,the company took a halfhearted approach to the sport. Then, during the 2002 World Cup, it made its first concerted attack on the Adidas hegemony. Still,the Nike soccer ads that year were mediocre, and even a bit confusing: They featured soccer matches set,the marketing message was simple and straight forward. This time, the message is front and center, and the sunshine bright: "Joga Bonito." The phrase is Portuguese for "play beautiful," and it's a double-edged dig at Adidas. It reminds us

1)That the world champions Brazilians are a Nike squad.
2)That Brazil plays a creative, dazzling style of soccer that makes the more conservative, bruising teams (ahem, Germany) seem passionless by comparison.

When Brazil and Germany faced off in the 2002 World Cup final, it was not simply an important soccer match. It was an epic clash of logos. The German national team sported the three-stripe mark of Adidas, while the Brazilians were clad in the Nike. When Brazil won 2-0, their victory was celebrated just as fervently in Oregon, home to Nike world headquarters as it was in São Paulo and Rio. The 2006 World Cup kicks off on June 9, and both brands are already girding themselves for another battle. The German-based Adidas will have home-turf advantage (the World Cup final will be held in Berlin) and has been locking up television sponsorships. Nike has long led Adidas in overall market share (both in the United States and worldwide), but soccer is a holdout category in which Adidas maintains an edge. Nike hopes this "Joga Bonito" campaign will put an end to that.

I have been a Nike fan all along and both my pairs of sneakers are also Nike and in this Mad Ad fight which would culminate in the battle ground of football magic, whom do I support ? Let’s see....

Keep reading and remain connected.


At 12:06 PM, Blogger Brilliant said...

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