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On and off the FIFA field

Thursday, July 01, 2010

EVERY four years when the beautiful game hosts its world event, there are plenty of match ups outside the field as well. And the rivalry does not get bigger than the one between sports manufacturing giants Nike and Adidas.

If you have been watching ESPN’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup, you must’ve surely caught glimpses of the Nike commercial titled ‘Write the Future’ (The ad has almost 18 million views on YouTube). The 3-minute extravaganza, which is directed by Academy Award nominated director, Alejandro Iñárritu, features an all-star cast of footballers Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Wayne Rooney (England), Franck Ribery (France), Ronaldinho (Brazil) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) foreseeing a ripple effect on their lives outside football while on the field.

After Portugal’s defeat in the last Round of 16 matches, all the aforementioned ‘star players’ are effectively out of the tournament. In fact, Ronaldinho did not even feature in the 23-man squad for Brazil. Cannavaro, Ribery and Rooney were ‘shamed out’ very early in the tournament. For all the hype about the star factor in the ad, the poor showing by the featured stars had fans disappointed.

Meanwhile, Adidas aired a more subdued commercial about their latest product, the F50 adiZero, a super light boot weighing only 165gms. As opposed to Nike’s all star cast, it featured only two footballers – Spain’s David Villa and Argentine Lionel. While Villa has been a hit in this tournament scoring four crucial goals including the one that knocked out Portugal and Messi, although not yet on the score sheet, has driven Argentina to the quarter finals, creating most of the team’s goals with his dazzling runs.

So with Adidas outscoring Nike, less was apparently more this time.

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