Ribery Messi Cristiano Ronaldo

Hi guys
Today, FIFA will unveil the 2013 Ballon d’Or winner. The feud between adidas and Nike is still on. Who will get the upper hand?

The three finalists are; Messi (adidas) and Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery (Nike).

If CR7 or Ribery is crowned tonight, their sponsor Nike won’t be able to utilise the Ballon d’Or marks to celebrate their athlete. Under the terms of the agreement, adidas enjoys exclusive rights for the promotion of Fifa Ballon d’Or merchandise, while Nike does not possess the same privilege.

“These official partnerships are the reasons why we can use the official award name within promotional activity and therefore, by the same token, why Nike could not,” Ben Goldhagen, Senior PR Manager for Adidas UK and Ireland, told Goal.

adidas produced a special edition f50 boot to commemorate Messi’s fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or win last January and plans are afoot for a similar campaign in spring in the event of a Messi win in the 2013 voting.

“We would certainly look to repeat that approach next time around. Messi has his own limited edition boots coming in March regardless of the result.” Goldhagen said. [Source: BeINSportTV]

Ronaldo or Ribery and Nike would not be able to launch such a product. However, is this enough to stop Nike from using some genius marketing stunt if one of their athlete wins the prize?

I often point out how Nike managed to close the football gap against  their competitor by being creative and utilising other marketing platform to link their brand to football.

Nike is neither a FIFA nor a UEFA sponsor and yet, manages to communicate massively on significant football events such as World Cups or Champions League finals.

For example, during the World Cup in Brasil, for the first time, Nike will have more qualified teams than its rivals. 10 for the swoosh while adidas and Puma have 8 each.

Nike Federations will also wear the Pro Hypercool, the swoosh’s latest baselayer technology. Also, Nike recently launched the “Dare to be Brasilian” football ad that position the brand around the event.

The bottom line is that Nike has proven that not having the marketing rights of an event is not a major hurdle for them to communicate and come up with innovative and creative ideas. 

In fact, I would bet that regardless of the Ballon d’Or outcome, Nike will come up with something.

What do you think?

Karl Lusbec

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