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SBD Global/June 11, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Introduces 'The Last Game' Animated Video Ahead Of World Cup

Nike's "The Last Game" animated ad features some of footballs top players.
Nike on Monday "released part three of its #riskeverything campaign, an animated feature that is part 'The Incredibles,' part 'The Avengers,' and part Dream Team," football edition, according to Allan Brettman of the OREGONIAN. The five-minute animated video features Nike-wearing/endorsing football stars in cartoon form: "Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden (which did not qualify for the Cup), Neymar of Brazil, Andrés Iniesta of Spain, David Luiz of Brazil and Wayne Rooney of England." Ad agencies Wieden+Kennedy of Portland and Passion of London "collaborated with Nike" to produce the video. Nike Chief Marketing Officer Davide Grasso said, "The idea behind 'The Last Game' is to show the world that Nike, like any true lover of football, believes that the game should be brilliant, daring and bold" (OREGONIAN, 6/9). ADWEEK reported "the creative direction certainly is a risk for the client and its agency." That is because it does not show a single football player "in the flesh." It is "all animation." That is "an audacious decision for a company and category that rely so much on star power." But it also frees Nike from its albatross-like "Write the Future" legacy, "and gives viewers a fresh, fun, funny and at times beautiful take" on the current state of global football (ADWEEK, 6/9).

DON'T MESS WITH JESUS: In London, Hannah Roberts wrote Italy "has found itself in a spot of bother, after running an advert with Rio's famous Christ the Redeemer statue dressed in an Italian football shirt." The Catholic Church in Brazil said that "the use of the statue’s image is blasphemous and is threatening to sue" for up to €7M ($9.4M). The Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro said that "exploiting the image of Christ the Redeemer is a crime." The ad "was part of state broadcaster Rai's World Cup campaign." The clip "features a Capoeira dancer in the strip, and children, wearing the Italy kit, playing football in the street before ending with the image of the statue wearing the blue shirt with ‘Italia’ written on the back, alongside the slogan ‘Brazil awaits us’" (DAILY MAIL, 6/10). In Melbourne, Alana Schetzer reported Sportsbet.com.au is "flying a one-tonne hot air balloon replica over Melbourne of host nation Brazil’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue to publicise the biggest sporting event of the year." The 46m high hot air balloon has a 41m wingspan "and is believed to be one of the biggest ever seen in Melbourne." It is cloaked in a gold and green jersey with the hashtag "Keep The Faith" printed on it. The "stunt has attracted plenty of attention online, with opinions divided between amused and sinful." On Twitter, one user quipped, "He has amazing healing powers!" while another labeled it "revolting and offensive." Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier "was unimpressed with the stunt." Freier said, "The fact that it has sought to exploit Christian symbols shows both the power of those symbols and the company’s desperation to be relevant." Sportsbet.com.au spokesperson Matthew Campbell said that "the stunt was to get people behind the Socceroos." Campbell: "[The statue’s] an icon of Brazil and all we’re doing is bringing it to Australia." Campbell said that the company had not received any complaints from any religious groups directly and added, "We certainly don’t believe we’re being insensitive to anyone’s religious beliefs" (THE AGE, 6/10).
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