Nike Burns as Adidas Rides the Surf – The Battle for Football Explodes on Twitter

It’s football season, and a war is going on.  In the battle of the brands, College Football Saturday brought us into week 1 thinking Adidas was finally gaining on Nike – their new unis for the Canes had swag, AND supported a cause.  After years of just not doing it, Adidas rolled out a forward design with subliminal tonal palm trees paying homage to South Floridian landscapes, in an ode to the cause to end plastic pollution in our ocean.  But then, people started burning their new $240 Nike Air Vapormaxs in droves.  Or wait, maybe it’s just last year’s model bought on clearance at the outlet store.  No matter – it’s business as usual today in Beaverton in the posh Nike war rooms.  In one of 75 buildings on campus, a design team argues over orange Duck feet and pow wows (pun intended) over a variation of the Seminole pattern for next year’s FSU unis, peering at each other over their Tom Fords.  Next door, PR is cracking open a case of chilled Vouve, lounging back in their Saarinen conference chairs and watching the tweets explode on tweetdeck – exactly as planned – #NikeBoycott 118k and growing.  Yes my friends, they are celebrating the execution of their highly orchestrated master campaign of the year, just in time for Football.

The new Nike Just Do It posterchild, Colin Kaepernick, was the first player to kneel after the national anthem as a protest against racism.  And Nike’s brilliant team did what they Just Do – embedded the hottest button of one of their largest customer bases, right smack dead center in what will be a campaign for the record books.  Adidas is still trying to figure out what hit them, as their campaign of the first ever football uniforms featuring repurposed marine materials was lost in the smoke of the burning Air Jordans.

Entertainers and celebrities played right into Nike’s play book.  John Rich of the country music duo Big and Rich tweeted his soundman’s socks with the swoosh sheared off, and Kaepernick’s famous Cop Pig socks:

Fonda Lee of Portland, Oregon, a Science Fiction author who used to work in corporate strategy at Nike, tweeted that the company is laughing all the way to the bank.

Billy Morehead, a personal trainer and life coach, tweeted it best, telling all of the #NikeBoycott supporters that they will need to walk around barefoot if they really want to be true supporters of their cause:

So while Nike sends over a conciliatory case of Veuve to the Adidas campus, America does exactly what was expected of them.  They played into the controversy and started a media frenzy, all to further build Nike’s brand.  For all we know, Nike started burning their own shoes first and planted them strategically on twitter to get the process started.  Cheers to Nike, they Just Did It again.  I’m lacing up my trusty Air Maxs and going for a run.

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