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:
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.”
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.