June 24, 2010

Social media campaigns help hand Nike the World Cup crown

The World Cup won’t end for another 17 days. But we don’t need to wait that long to know the winner of the brand wars. It’s Nike, hands down.

Rival adidas is one of the official sponsors of the World Cup, but with Nike dominating TV, online and print media, adidas may as well be brand X.

When award-winning Wieden + Kennedy partners with Oscar-nominated director Alejandro G. Inarritu (21 Grams, Amores Perros and Babel leap to mind), it’s no surprise that the campaign they create would be memorable.

And Nike’s “Write The Future” commercial delivers on that promise. It’s a stirring three-minute paean to the sport and its stars, including Didier Drogba, Fabio Cannavaro, Franck Ribery, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo (not to mention cameos by Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant and Homer Simpson).

But what truly elevates Nike’s brand is the use of social media surrounding the campaign. It has done a great job of engaging users in creative ways by incorporating Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, among other platforms.

What stands out is how it seeded its web video campaign three weeks before the World Cup began, and how that video has gone viral. At last count, it had been viewed more than 16 million times. And that’s just on YouTube.

Nike used Facebook to augment that effort. To get users to share the video, it offered exclusive content: a 10-minute behind-the-scenes video for those who clicked the “like” button.

Just as noteworthy is the company’s current social media campaign, which is more interactive, and way more fun. Using Facebook, Twitter and the two biggest social networks in South Africa and China, Nike is soliciting fans to pick an image of their favorite player and write a 57-character inspirational message that “writes the future” for that player.

One hundred of those headlines are chosen daily and each night they are emblazoned in bright lights on a huge interactive billboard -- the screen is 144 feet tall and sits 30 stories high -- on one of the Johannesburg’s tallest buildings. Nike then follows through by sending users whose submissions were chosen a picture of the headline with the accompanying video of their player.

And who doesn’t like their name in bright lights?

Nike’s “Write the Future” ad sets viral record {Mashable}
Nike’s not a World Cup sponsor, but it’s stealing the show {Ad Age}
Official World Cup Sponsor Makes Viral Chart {Ad Age}

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