Yesterday Cristiano Ronaldo received his 3rd Ballon d’Or. Nike celebrates its star in style by launching the Mercurial CR7 Gold.
For the 2013 Ballon d’Or edition, I pointed out that although Nike did not have the marketing rights to use the Ballon d’Or marks the swoosh celebrated Cristiano Ronaldo with a compelling video paying tribute to the Portuguese star.
Bis repetita this year, but Nike came up with a product specifically designed for Cristiano Ronaldo. According to Nike: “Gold was selected as the main color on the boot because gold is earned. Ronaldo earned his golden award with tremendous play for club and country”.
As a tribute to Ronaldo’s work ethic, Nike added a special touch to the Mercurial CR7 Rare Gold. For the first time in Nike history, micro-diamonds have been applied by hand to the CR7 logo of the boot.
A one-of-a-kind boot for an exceptional player. There is obviously no mention of the FIFA Ballon d’Or on the product, but Nike communicates on the gold colour, the excellence of the product and the exclusive factor especially when a product has micro-diamonds hand-crafted on.
Speaking of diamonds, according to Nike, the micro-diamonds are remnants from larger stones that are painstakingly perfected by craftsmen. As the diamonds are refined and the details sharpened, tiny pieces are cut away, leaving micro-diamonds behind as evidence of work in progress.
The commitment to keep chipping away at something already impressive reminded Nike’s design team of Ronaldo’s work ethic. While many see Ronaldo as the best in the world, he sees room for improvement
Nike once again managed to communicate around an event it does not have the marketing rights to do so. Some will call it ambush marketing, I call it smart marketing.
I raised the question whether a non event sponsor can be successful in its marketing. At the 2014 World Cup, although adidas came out 1st in the marketing race, Nike strongly linked its brand to the event with creative products, out-of-the-box marketing activations and compelling social media fan engagement.
With the Ballon d’Or, Nike shows again that although not being an event sponsor or partner, a brand can celebrate its assets in style.