2 young lads meet at the center of the pitch, “Winner Stays On” says one to the other and suddenly one by one, the young men on the pitch transform into soccer giants.
First Cristiano Ronaldo, the Real Madrid star, then Brazil’s Neymar. Suddenly, what started as a pick up game turns into a bout of legends on a global stage; I found myself fixated on the video. Completely lost by the action, the excitement and the drama. I couldn’t wait to see what happens next.
A Commercial? No way, this was the best 5 minutes of television I had watched in months. Sorry House of Cards, Game of Thrones and any soccer match ever played on television; this was better.
But it was a commercial. With the World Cup just around the corner Nike has further evolved following the lead of companies like Red Bull and Coca-Cola who have turned their business storytelling into content marketing so native that you don’t realize you are consuming ads. It is the perfect blend of product placement, provocative storytelling and real-time marketing.
While opinions about Nike may vary, I must say that this Nike World Cup ad campaign warranted a big kudos for the team at Nike. After seeing the one-minute short for the commercial I found myself on YouTube searching for the full-length version and other commercials in the series. I ended up spending 25 minutes riding an elliptical while watching commercials, on purpose. Who does that?
The Campaign: Risk Everything
At the end of the commercial one of the “Lads” that first took the pitch walks up to Ronaldo who is about to take the game winning penalty shot and pushes him aside. Without a word spoken he takes the ball off of the current worlds’ best player. The music stops, the fans in utter silence, and then he approaches the ball and buries it in the top corner.
Celebration ensues. The world has been put on notice. Here comes the World Cup and more importantly here is one more example of how brands in the future will connect with their consumer.