Nike vs. Adidas: Which Brand’s Videos Won the Women’s World Cup?

Virtually everyone knows that the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team defeated Japan 5-2 to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada last Sunday. But ReelSEO wanted to find out which apparel and footwear brand’s videos won the hearts and minds of soccer fans. Was it Adidas, an official FIFA World Cup Partner and Sponsor since 1982, or Nike, the official supplier of athletic wear, training gear, uniforms and footwear of U.S. Soccer?

Soccer Video Marketing: Nike vs Adidas

Now, both Adidas and Nike have multiple channels on YouTube as well as accounts on other video platforms. So, finding all of their content related to the Women’s World Cup in 2015 is a challenge. Nevertheless, there’s no question that the top YouTube video is “Nike Soccer: American Woman”.

Published on June 9, 2015, the video has more than 1.4 million views. And according to Tubular Intelligence, the video has over 1,300 likes and 75 comments on YouTube; 14,000 likes, more than 3,700 shares, and close to 2,000 comments on Facebook; as well as almost 700 tweets on Twitter. That gives it a total of 21,000 engagements, or 1.5 engagements per 100 views.

By comparison, “adidas Becky Sauerbrunn: Take Today” was outscored by historic margins. Published on February 13th 2015, this video has only 114,000 views. And according to Tubular, only 227 likes and 27 comments on YouTube; only 256 likes, 16 shares, and 1 comment on Facebook; as well as only 8 tweets on Twitter. That gives it a total of 535 engagements, or 0.4 engagements per 100 views.

https://youtu.be/ryRUFjssWkI

It’s pretty much the same story over on Facebook. Nike Canada’s “Our turf. Our terms. #NoMaybes” has 475,000 views on Facebook. And according to Tubular Intelligence, the video has 3,200 likes, 177 shares, and 32 comments on the site too. That gives it a total of more than 3,400 engagements, or 0.7 engagements per 100 views.

Our turf. Our terms. #NoMaybes

Posted by Nike Canada on Monday, 8 June 2015

Video Strategy Takeaways for Brands

So, it looks like Adidas took its ball and went home before this year’s tournament even started, while Nike got to stand on top of more than one platform in more than one country. Are there any strategic insights from the lopsided outcome of this global event? Yes, there are three.

#1 Utilize All Video Platforms: First, video marketers can’t avoid the “melee of the marketplace.” According to Forbes, Adidas reportedly pays some $25-50 million per year to be a major FIFA partner. So, skipping the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada during 2015 was a very expensive proposition. And if you are going to face a world-class competitor like Nike, then you have got to bring your A-game. And you need to bring it on YouTube, Facebook, and other video platforms as well as on television.

It’s worth noting that the U.S. Women’s National Team set a TV ratings record during its victory in the final of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Japan, making the game the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history. According to FOX Sports, the match attracted nearly 23 million viewers, an increase of 77% compared to the final of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, which featured a match between the same two teams.

#2 Take the Time to Tell the Story: Second, smart video marketers should never “bring a knife to a gunfight.” If you look at “adidas Becky Sauerbrunn: Take Today” again, it is just 15 seconds long. But, if you watch “Nike Soccer: ‘American Woman’” a second time, it is a minute and 15 seconds long. Even before you check out the engagement numbers, you can make a scientific, wild-ass guess which one is more likely to tell a story worth sharing.

It’s also worth noting that a recent experiment by Google’s Art, Copy & Code team found “Everything doesn’t need to be a cut-down from the TV spot.” This experiment also suggested that it’s time to look past “traditional” notions of making ads. Video ads don’t need to be shorter, quicker, and more snackable; they can be longer, richer, and perhaps even a bit stranger.

#3 Understand the Customer Lifecycle: Video marketers need to remember that women control two-thirds of family purchasing decisions. Yes, I know that soccer’s global governing body will award the U.S. Women’s Nation Soccer Team only $2 million for winning the World Cup in 2015 — which is 5.7% of the $35 million that FIFA gave to the German men’s national football team for winning the World Cup 2014. But, if you sell women’s training shoes and training clothing, and you have a YouTube channel like Adidas Women or NikeWomen, then you should ignore what FIFA is doing and focus on your customers.

It’s also worth noting that ReelSEO predicted that one of the top social video trends for brands in 2015 was “Fempowerment.” Last year there was a noticeable shift in the way brands market to women. Leading the way was Always’ “#LikeAGirl” ad, showing what young girls really think it means to act “like a girl”. Another ad from last year that stole people’s hearts was Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want,” featuring American ballet dancer Misty Copeland with her triumphant underdog story.

So, Adidas shouldn’t have been surprised by this trend. Nike wasn’t.