Adidas soccer shoes are pictured before the company's news conference in the northern Bavarian town of Herzogenaurach, near Nuremberg in this June 24, 2014 file photo. Credit: Reuters
Sportswear firm Adidas probably thought it had hit the marketing jackpot when Adidas-sponsored Germany beat Adidas-sponsored Argentina to win the Adidas-sponsored World Cup. But arch rival Nike may have stolen much of its soccer branding thunder with quirky videos, innovative boots and amusing Tweets, not to mention the odd sponsorship coup of its own such as signing up hosts Brazil.
Adidas said it had secured “victory on and off the pitch” at the soccer tournament, providing the highest-scoring boots and generating 22 percent more discussion on social media than Nike. But more than half the players displayed Nike's brightly-colored shoes and it was one of Nike's new lightweight "Flyknit" boots worn by Germany's Mario Goetze that volleyed in the winning goal.
Nike has been eating into its German rival's market share and some branding experts and investors don't believe throwing more cash into marketing will necessarily fix the problem. Instead, Adidas needs to spot and set more trends and create a buzz among fashion and sports-mad youngsters.
"At the moment, Nike is cool, very cool. If you ask a 20-year-old, they are not going to pick Adidas right now," said Tammy Smulders, head of marketing consultancy SCB Partners. "It is not as easy as just writing a check. They need to be doing more of the viral, underground activities which brings out the cool factor of the brand."