In a bid to take advantage of the World Cup in Russia, Nike has decided to make its presence known both on and off the field. From sponsorships to gear, the famous swoosh is visible throughout the tournament. But perhaps the most talked about branding by Nike comes in the form of an advertisement taking inspiration from Brazil.
The ad, “Vai na Brasileiragem,” takes us on a journey from players’ changing rooms to the streets of inner-city Brazil. Not only do we see the customary collection of the world’s finest football talent, we also see just how Nike is connecting itself to the grassroots of the game. The majority of the spot focuses on young players, up-and-coming talent inspired by famous footballers like Neymar who make brief appearances throughout the ad. It also features tech, gaming, and social media integrated into the very fibers of the story line. It’s an interesting approach for a brand that typically falls second to Adidas in football. By speaking to a younger audience in ways that feel authentic and relevant, the brand generates excitement while delivering on its brand promise: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
Nike’s ad also celebrates the female presence in the game, both skillfully on the pitch and passionately off it. I’m very glad to see this balancing of gender roles, as it has been a long time coming in the mainstream media, and is particularly needed given Nike’s recent gender equality issues with its corporate brand. Nike has realized the huge influence of women in football and how they have enriched the mass appeal of the sport.
It is through the young players that Nike ensures that the glory of the World Cup delivers not just a winning team, but many future stars. The closing scenes of its advertisement show the future voice of Brazilian football passionately calling on the nation to believe and to dream. Perhaps most interestingly, Nike positions itself as a brand that can swing from being professional to being socially relevant in the switch of a beat. In this way, Nike reminds us that locality and connectivity matter a great deal during this feast of World Cup football.
Nike scores in the eyes of everyone as it lifts the expectations of a country, and of the world.
This piece was originally published in the Brand Berries (3 July 2018). Republished with permission.