Nike claims World Cup marketing crown despite not being an official sponsor

France striker and Nike sponsored footballer, Kylian Mbappe

Nike has claimed victory at the World Cup 2018, despite not being an official sponsor of the tournament.

The sportswear brand, whose arch-nemesis Adidas was an official sponsor, was the official sponsor of both finalist teams; the winners France and their opponents, Croatia.

According to Nike, 100 goals were scored by players wearing the company’s boots, including Golden Boot winner England’s Harry Kane, France’s Kylian Mbappe, awarded both Young Player of the Tournament and Player of the Tournament, and Croatian playmaker Luca Modric.

Of the 32 teams competing in this year’s World Cup, 10 were wearing Nike strips (see more stats in the infographic below.)

“We’ve been in the game of football for over 20 years, and it’s the first time that we’ve had an all-Nike final,“ says Elliott Hill, president of consumer and marketplace.

“In addition to the kits, we’ve had great success with our players. Over 65 per cent of the minutes played on-pitch were by athletes wearing Nike football boots,” he added.

The company also claimed that its ‘Believe’ campaign, which features Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar in short films, alongside a longer standalone trailer, generated over 100 million views and over 50 million engagements.

Meanwhile, according to data from MediaCom North, Budweiser, which was an official competition sponsor, clocked-up over 55,000 total mentions on Twitter through its #ManoftheMatch content, ahead of second-placed brand Ikea which garnered around 35,000 mentions.

Amazon, Adidas and Nike made up the rest of the top five brands for social media engagement during the four week tournament.

Paul Cooper, group managing director at MediaCom North, explained: “Budweiser connected with fans as it tapped into a key moment of every World Cup match – the man of the match. No matter which team was playing or won, or what the score was, there’s always social media chatter among fans about the players and, more importantly, positive conversations about the stand-out players of each game.

“Tournaments are made for players to shine and for fans to praise and acknowledge the skills of their sporting heroes. Budweiser leveraged this through its #ManoftheMatch tweets, enabled it to drive a consistent volume of brand mentions among a wide fan base.”

The campaign included interviews with players which were shared on Twitter, and video content that fed into other hashtags around the tournament, including #WorldCup and mentions of specific teams playing during each match.

View the World Cup-themed brand ambush marketing campaigns in The Drum's creative round up from earlier in the year.

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