Adidas ambushed by Nike…again!

By this time you all must have been familiar with Nike‘s Find Your Greatness campaign. The commercial features various places across the globe with lesser known athletes competing and training themselves in various sports. What you must have noticed in the commercial, is that the word ‘London‘ appears in almost every scene. This has fooled many people across, that Nike is somehow associated with the Olympics being held in London.

Mind you, Adidas is the official global sponsor of the 2012 Olympics for which they have forked out a whopping $60 million  sponsorship fees.

The ad spot opens with, ”Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is only for the chosen few, for the superstars. The truth is, greatness is for us all. This is not about lowering expectations; it’s about raising them for every last one of us. Greatness is not in one special place, and it’s not in one special person. Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it. Find your greatness. ” A powerful message.

Smart advertising!

However this is not the first time Nike has ambushed arch rival Adidas. The last time Nike ambushed Adidas was during the last FIFA World Cup, when Nike came with its Write The Future campaign. The commercial which features almost every one of the top football players went outrageously viral.

The company prefers making a brand of itself by spending on super effective ad campaigns and not spending on huge sponsorship deals. The only brand with the history of creating ripples with its ambush marketing!

Other ambushes:

1) Nike’s ambush of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics is still seen as the ambush of all ambushes. Saving the US$ 50 million that an official sponsorship would have cost, Nike plastered the city in billboards, handed out swoosh banners to wave at the competitions and erected an enormous Nike center overlooking the stadium. The tactics devastated the International Olympic Committee’s credibility and spooked other organizations such as FIFA into adopting more assertive anti-ambushing strategies.

2) At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Nike sponsors press conferences with the US basketball team despite Reebok being the games’ official sponsor. {brandchannel}

3) In the greatest ambush marketing feat of all time Nike’s man Michael Jordan, Air Sponsorship himself, accepts the gold medal for basketball and covers up the Reebok logo on his kit. Reebok was the official sponsor. {brandchannel}

4) 2002 Boston Marathon: Nike strikes again. As adidas-sponsored runners come off the course they are treated to spray-painted ‘swooshes’ honoring the day of the race, but not the race itself. {brandchannel}

Campaign conceived by Nike’s long time agency: Wieden +Kennedy.


That’s not all. The ad campaign by Nike was also an answer to the LOCOG rules and regulations for non-sponsors. Here are 10 bizarre sponsorship rules implemented by the IOC, LOCOG and other Olympic committees for sponsors and non-sponsors: {Forbes}

  • All 800 Olympic food retailers are banned from serving chips (French fries) during the Games in Britain—except for McDonald’s. A leaked memo reads, “Due to sponsorship obligations with McDonalds, LOCOG have instructed the catering team they are no longer allowed to serve chips on their own anywhere within the Olympic park. The only loophole to this is if it is served with fish.”
  • Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter limits athletes and other participants in the Olympic Games from appearing in advertising from July 18 to August 5 (also known as the “blackout period” the “Games Period” or “Rule 40 period”). Only official U.S. Olympic Team sponsors, including TOP worldwide Partners, USOC sponsors, suppliers and merchandise licensees may obtain a waiver to use athletes in advertising during this period.
  • ATMs at Olympic venues have been replaced by Visa ATMs, as part of an exclusivity deal. This means that those without Visa cards won’t be able take out cash.
  • If a non-sponsor or supplier uses the Olympic Symbol, the Olympic Motto (‘Citius Altius Fortius’/‘Faster Higher Stronger’) or the words  “Olympic(s),” “Olympiad(s),” “Olympian(s),” or anything similar to them, or translations of them, or the Paralympic Symbol (the three “agitos”), the Paralympic Motto (Spirit in Motion) or the words “Paralympic(s),” “Paralympiad(s),” or “Paralympian(s)” (or anything similar to them, or translations of them) in the course of trade without consent, it may be considered an infringement.
  • The Olympic Games maintain a strict ‘clean field of play’ policy, which restricts any advertising or commercial branding from appearing on the field of play. This policy also pertains to the areas immediately surrounding the Olympic venues.
  • Using two of the following words “games,” “two thousand and twelve,” “2012,” or “twenty twelve” together, or combining one of those with “gold,” “silver,” “bronze,” “London,” “medals,” “sponsor,” or “summer” is prohibited in advertising (by non-sponsors) or on products/merchandise when used in a context that could suggest an association with the 2012 Olympic Games.
  • A number of social media rules have been implemented. According to The Guardian, Twitter has agreed to work with LOCOG in barring non-sponsors from buying promoted ads with hashtags like #London2012. In addition, participants and other accredited persons are not permitted to promote any brand, product or service within a posting, blog or tweet or otherwise on any social media platforms or on any websites.

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