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NIKE V. ADIDAS COULD BE THE MOST HEATED OF WORLD CUP BATTLES
Published June 8, 1998
The "big battle" at the World Cup will "be between" Nike and adidas, according to William Echikson of BUSINESS WEEK, both of whom "have spent millions of dollars on temporary 'soccer parks'" in Paris to showcase their products. Nike's display, which will feature French soccer star Eric Cantona and the Brazilian team, is at the La Defense office complex, while adidas is using an area across the river from the Eifel Tower. Nike wanted to put a large swoosh on the Arche de la Defense, but local officials objected, and Nike instead has a model of its oversized World Cup shoe, the Mercurial (BUSINESS WEEK, 6/15 issue). RAZOR SHARP: In Boston, Gregg Kruppa wrote that for marketers, the World Cup "is the most important sports event on the planet." Some advertising and marketing specialists assert that World Cup sponsors should have "at least" one- fifth of its sales overseas, while others contend that with "so many companies participating, individual messages can become muddled or lost in the din." Gillette Dir of Advertising Tim Schramm, whose company will have ad boards positioned near the goals during Games: "It's a global event and we're a global company. What our sponsorship is able to portray is that we are a world-class company sponsoring a world-class event." Gillette, which has offered World Cup promotions in 70 countries, says that 70% of men between the ages of 18-25 watched some of World Cup '94. MasterCard Senior VP/Global Promotions Mava Heffler said the company has issued 1.5 million World Cup affinity cards, 50% more than MasterCard issued during the entire World Cup '94. But John Hancock President David D'Alessandro said that while the Cup is a "magnificent international event," it is "a joke for most American companies." D'Alessandro: "People are looking at the millions of kids who play soccer in this country and they think it's going to become the American pastime. They were wrong in '94 ... and they're wrong now" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/7). For more on the Cup, see (#19), (#20).