Nike causing controversy again, this time in Argentina

Over the years, Nike have undoubtedly been the best proponents of Guerrilla Marketing when it comes to ambushing major sporting sponsorships.

Rarely does Nike sponsor a major event such as the Olympics or the World Cup, instead finding ways for their brand to be even more prominent than the sponsoring sportswear brand, such as Reebok or Adidas.

For example, at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Nike sponsored press conferences with the US basketball team despite Reebok being the games’ official sponsor. Then Nike’s man Michael Jordan, accepted the gold medal for basketball and covered up the Reebok logo on his kit (via BrandChannel).

Then at the recent 2008 Beijing Olympics, despite Adidas being the major sponsor, Nike went ahead and sponsored the Chinese teams in 22 of 28 Olympic sports, so that if they won, the swoosh logo would be the one that was remembered (and photographed).

Now it seems that Nike are up to their old tricks, this time in Argentina.

Again, despite Adidas being the official partner of the FIFA 2010 World Cup, Nike have launched a World Cup themed campaign designed to provoke the passionate Argentine supporters.

The two execution outdoor campaign firstly features a a bold ‘1986’ crossed out with a Nike swoosh logo in the corner.

For those outside the football world this would probably be baffling, but every single Argentine knows that 1986 was the year that Argentina won the World Cup final,  after Diego Maradona scoring a goal with his hand in the quarter final against England, famously known as ‘The Hand of God’.

Maradona himself has even admitted that he did it intentionally.

Now if the first execution is designed to provoke negative emotions, the second execution provides an out. This time 2010 is written in bold font with ‘ESCRIBAMOS HISTORIA’ written through the middle, that roughly translates in English to ‘LET’S REWRITE HISTORY’.

I have to say that I love this campaign!

It speaks directly to an entire nation and I have no doubts that it will be remembered.

I have yet to see any World Cup related advertising by Adidas, so based on this I am going to give the first half to Nike 1 – 0.

Adidas, it’s your move.

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Categories: Advertising, branding, Guerrilla Marketing, International Marketing, Marketing Strategy


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5 Comments on “Nike causing controversy again, this time in Argentina”

  1. klugioh
    December 22, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    ‘The hand of god’ was part of Argentina’s quarter final victory over England. At the final Argentina beat Germany. Maradona didn’t score a goal in the final match. Don’t write about football if you don’t know anything about it.

  2. December 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Thanks for letting me know it has been updated. I will make sure I check my facts better next time.

    • Zac Howes
      February 18, 2011 at 3:36 am #

      I dont understand how they let someone publish an article when the information is wrong. It’s your job to get it right. Research it – or dont write it at all.

      • February 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

        Who is “they” you are talking about. Someone pointed out an error, so I fixed it. You don’t see any big news company doing that.


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