Nike DOUBLES Facebook Followers with Viral Ad

May 29, 2010 19 Comments by Michael

If you’re a soccer fan, you’ve likely witnessed Nike’s new adrenaline pumping 3-minute video ad that contains some of the world’s greatest soccer stars going into the upcoming FIFA World Cup. What you might not have known, however, was that this incredibly viral video advertisement was debuted on Nike Football’s Facebook Page (or Nike Soccer as we say here in the states).

The ad was premiered on a Static FBML tab on the Nike Football page last week, a few days before being debuted as a television commercial at half time of the UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Nike made a Facebook announcement earlier in the week that an extended “movie” version would be available on the Nike Football fan page. Apparently this caught the eyes and ears of footy fanatics everywhere, causing the page’s fan numbers to more than double from roughly 550,000 on May 20th (the day of the announcement) to over 1.15 million as of today:

Nike Facebook Fan Increase After Viral Ad

The reason behind the Facebook premiere was to reward its loyal soccer consumers by providing them access to the spot before a wider introduction, said Trevor Edwards, VP of global brand and category management for Nike. “Our entire approach that we’re playing around is insider, it’s access,” Mr. Edwards said. “What we are trying to do is to help bridge the gap between the greatest players in the world and people who have the passion for that game of football.”

Newcomers to the Nike Football fan page are automatically directed to a custom tab with a screen shot of the video and an enticing teaser: “Hit the Like Button. Watch the Future.”

Opening Facebook Tab for Nike Football

Visitors are only able to view the video once they “Like” the page. It was this creative trick that resulted in the Nike Football’s explosive fan growth. You may recall that Papa John’s used a similar like-then-reward strategy on Facebook.

All of the buzz created by the ad may have some casual fans believing Nike is the official sponsor of the 2010 World Cup, when in fact this title belongs to rival sportswear company Adidas. Perhaps this viral campaign was an attempt (and a successful one at that) to steal some of the brand recognition associated with the Cup away from Adidas.

Will Adidas respond with a social campaign of their own? Only time will tell, but with only 11 days left until the tournament starts time certainly is not on their side.

Related posts:

  1. To “Like” or Not to “Like”? Now an Ethical Question.
  2. Papa John’s: Take a Slice of Our Sales
  3. Adding a Custom Facebook Tab
Creative Inspiration

About the author

Michael is a social marketing enthusiast and owner of, co-founder at Unibridge Projects and caretaker of his mischievous dog Jimmy (pictured).

19 Responses to “Nike DOUBLES Facebook Followers with Viral Ad”

  1. Boyd Schlepp says:

    Just particulars that i had been hoping to discover. Well put too.

  2. Anonymous says:

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  3. proxy says:

    you serious dude?!!

  4. Jack Rovella says:

    Only several nights left before the football World Cup 2010 gets going. I am certain, this will be the most exciting soccer World Cup we have ever seen.

  5. Michael says:

    You said it Jack

  6. Aide Koebley says:

    Guys, I got a feeling, this will be the most exciting sports World Cup we have ever seen.

  7. Gerry Girbach says:

    It’s really interesting to see how many comments this site is getting. I guess it have a lot of enteries. how do you accomplish that kind of traffic?

  8. Beau Tharnish says:

    I hardly can wait, simply four days and nights towait before the soccer World Cup 2010 starts. I hope, this will be the most exciting sports WC we have ever watched.

  9. tifacil says:

    Is your site a free theme or custom? I am intrigued by your blog. Is it possible to include this article on one of my sites?, i will of course link to this blog. Many Thanks

  10. No Man’s Blog - Notes on ‘Like’ says:

    [...] when everyone gone crazy about how Nike made it big in ‘digital’ (and social!) by hiding the new world cup ad behind the cloak of LIKE, like Andy, I really found it [...]

  11. Cari Seuell says:

    It is so tragic what happened to Nelson Mandel’s grand daughter. It’s so unfortunate for him, he fought so hard to host the World Cup and then this occurred.

  12. Ned Nashe says:

    Wow Italy 1:1 against Paraguay. You really are worthy Champions.

  13. To “Like” or Not to “Like”? Now an Ethical Question. says:

    [...] when a page requires you to “Like” it before giving you access to hidden content. Take Nike Football’s recent explosive fan growth, for example. The growth was spurred by Nike Football requiring fan page visitors to [...]

  14. Michael says:

    @tifacil: It’s custom. Yes, you can include this article but be sure to include a link back to this site.

  15. Jackelyn Broadus says:

    Hi there could I reference some of the information from this post if I reference you with a link back to your site?

  16. Michael says:

    Jackelyn – Definitely! Just let me know when you do so.

  17. Candie Woofter says:

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  18. Michael says:

    Definitely. This was the plan from the start, but unfortunately I’ve been sidetracked with other projects. Shoot me an email at mike(at)coziggy(dot)com and we’ll discuss how to get started.

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