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Nike's "Write the Future" World Cup Ad Campaign Creating Online Buzz for the "Unofficial Sponsor"

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Uploaded on Jun 11, 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup commenced with a bang Friday in South Africa, with over 84,000 soccer fans cheering on the kickoff match between Mexico and host-nation South Africa, who ended the game with a 1 to1 tie.

"We couldn't have asked for more. A capacity stadium, a host nation with a will to win, and an incredible atmosphere..." said 2010 FIFA World Cup Organizing Committee CEO Danny Jordaan. "It's just fantastic that the first goal of Africa's first World Cup went to South Africa, we really couldn't have written a better script."

Marketing for this year's World Cup has been most famously headed by Nike, Inc. (NYSE:NKE), which created further buzz for the event among fans and advertising professionals through its "Write the Future" campaign, edging itself ahead of official World Cup sponsors like Adidas and Coca-Cola (NASDAQ:COKE).

The "Write the Future" campaign is Nike's latest TV ad spot composed by writer-director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, and features famed soccer players including Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo; Roger Federer and even Homer Simpson make guest appearances in the three-minute-long spot.

The ad follows the successes and failures of players during a match, while showing flashes of their futures, and analysts say the ad has built an epic online following and buzz for Nike.

A recent Nielsen study of blogs, message boards and social networking sites has found that Nike has been able to create a notably larger "online buzz" through the ad, associating the company more closely to the World Cup than competing brands.

Though the company is not an official World Cup sponsor, Nike "had more than twice as many references in relation to the World Cup than official sponsor Adidas," the Guardian reports.

Adidas held the second highest rank for mentions, and official sponsors Coca-Cola, Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE), and Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) filled out the remaining slots, according to the study.

Nielsen executive vice president of digital strategy Pete Balackshaw said, "This study shows that compelling, savvy marketing can establish this sort of connection in the eyes of consumers without having to write that expensive sponsorship check."

Shares of Nike are trading up 0.56% Friday afternoon at $72.15.

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