Nike, in advance of World Cup in Brazil, introduces products, video

Nike, in advance of World Cup in Brazil, introduces products, video

Nike on Friday introduced a soccer star-studded video, just a day after introducing a variety of soccer products as the Oregon athletic footwear and apparel company continued its build-up toward this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

Nike, Adidas and, to a lesser extent, Puma are waging a pre-tournament marketing battle for soccer supremacy. The World Cup has become an opportunity every four years for the brands to seek significant movement in their market share.

Adidas, an official World Cup sponsor, supplier of the World Cup match ball and long-time player in soccer products, has said they expect their soccer revenue to reach $2.8 billion this year. Nike, a company whose soccer revenues barely registered 20 years ago, recorded about $2 billion in soccer sales in its last fiscal year.

At an event in Madrid on Thursday and on Friday, Nike introduced its entire collection of footwear, apparel and equipment innovation for players and fans. In a news release, Nike said the event was “inspired by the upcoming summer of football in Brasil,” reflecting the fact the company is not an official World Cup sponsor and can’t use the name — and reflecting its preferred spelling for Brazil.

“This summer is the ultimate moment for the beautiful game, and the ultimate moment for Nike to revolutionize product design,” Nike chief executive Mark Parker said in the release. “Moments like this summer in Brazil allow us to supercharge our innovation as we look to provide athletes with every advantage on the world’s greatest stage.”

The home and away uniforms for the 10 Nike-outfitted federations were on display. The company also unveiled outfits players would wear off the field, such as in warm-ups, media appearances and travel.

“The overall goal was to create iconic and memorable pieces for the players to wear throughout their time in Brasil,” Martin Lotti, Nike (world) Football creative director, said in the release. “This is the biggest moment in their football careers; we wanted to deliver players our very best product to help them perform their best on-pitch and inspire them off-pitch.”

On Friday, with the help of Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Nike unveiled the latest version of the soccer shoe Mercurial. First introduced in 1998, today’s version is crafted with Nike’s FlyKnit technology.

Nike subsidiaries Hurley and the Jordan brand also will have World Cup-themed products. And just a week after reports the company was ending FuelBand, Nike said there would be a special World Cup version. But this one would be just for the players and staff of the Brazil, England, France and U.S. teams.

The video introduced Friday was produced by Wieden+Kennedy of Portland.

The 4-minute video features some of the best-known names in Nike’s stable of soccer players, each decked in their country’s Nike-supplied uniform, including Ronaldo of Portugal, Neymar of Brazil and Wayne Rooney of England. A cast of other characters, including Kobe Bryant, make cameo appearances.

— Allan Brettman

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