Creative Soccer Culture

Nike Cause A Stir With Cristiano Ronaldo Image

Did Nike throw shade at adidas following the Champions League final? Was it a cunning stroke of PR? Or was it simply an monumental blunder by the American company?

Raising eyebrows, Nike took the opportunity of Real Madrid's Champions League win to post an image of a young CR7 from his childhood days with the caption 'This Boy New'. A seemingly innocent way to mark the occasion and emphasise the winning mentality that Ronaldo has always had in rising to the pinnacle of football.

But it wasn't long after the image was posted that it began to cause a stir. Just a matter of hours later and another version of the image, a wider crop, started to circulate. The meaty part of the story is that this wider crop shows CR7, a frontrunner for Nike throughout his entire career, wearing an adidas sweatshirt with the adidas Equipment logo front and centre.

Some description

How we engage with the biggest moments in football through social media, means it's how brands react in the seconds following the final whistle that matters. Adidas were never going to be short of a story to tell ― Real Madrid and Juventus are both adidas clubs, while the UEFA Champions League is also sponsored by the German brand. From the ball to the kits, to the two teams that made it to the final, this match in particular saw adidas have a far stronger hold over the spotlight.

Some description

But for Nike, their hopes were on the shoulders of one man. After opening the scoring before finding the back of the net again for Madrid's second, Cristiano Ronaldo was indisputably the star of the show. Queue the image of a young Cristiano Ronaldo as millions across the world reached for their phone. As the final whistle blew and Ronaldo fell to his knees, Nike posted the image across their channels.

The true rationale behind presenting such an image? That will be confined to the walls at Nike HQ. Either they took an L on this one and opened the door for adidas to claim original bragging rights over their superstar athlete, or in predicting the media frenzy it would create, used it as a way to ambush and dominate the social conversation.

However calculated the post was, it's a timely reminder of the rivalry that exists between the two brands as we move towards to the biggest battleground of them all: the World Cup and Russia 2018. Consider the temperature raised. Who knew?


The Creative Soccer Culture Brief

Sign up to our newsletter and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the world of Creative Soccer Culture.