PORTLAND, OR: When Germany takes on Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday, both teams will be wearing jerseys made by Adidas. The sports clothing and accessory brand is warming up for the match by preparing to show off its exclusive access to both teams and their stars through real-time marketing.
Argentina beat the Netherlands in penalty kicks on Wednesday to advance to the final of the World Cup against Germany, who blitzed Brazil 7-1 to book their place in the showpiece. Adidas provide the jerseys for both the German and Argentinian teams, and is an official partner of FIFA, including the FIFA World Cup.
Regardless of which team takes home the trophy on Sunday, Michael Ehrlich, senior PR manager for Adidas America, said it’s "win-win" for the brand.
"It’s an interesting situation and a great opportunity and platform for our brand to really showcase our key federations, athletes, and products on the field," he added.
Rather than solely rooting for particular teams during tournament, Adidas has highlighted its players and products on social media, which it will continue to do during the final, said Ehrlich.
"Being the official sponsor of FIFA and the World Cup, we have access that no other brand has, so we’re able to capture content in the locker room, through the tunnel, down the stairs, on the field, on the sidelines, on the team busses, and so on," he explained.
He added that the rise of social media has arguably made this "the first social World Cup," which is why Adidas is focused on providing exclusive content to its fans all over the globe.
One of the ways the brand has engaged fans socially is through its @Brazuca Twitter handle, created in December in conjunction with the launch of the Adidas-provided official match ball. The Adidas team runs the ball’s Twitter account, making it the brand’s first sports product to have its own handle, said Ehrlich.
With more than 3.35 million followers, @Brazuca offers fans different perspectives than Adidas’ other platforms, such as videos from the ball’s point-of-view and more "fun, lifestyle" content from both on and off the field, he said.
On Friday at 1:30pm EST, Adidas will use the @Brazuca handle to reveal the nominees for the FIFA Golden Ball, the award given to the tournament’s most outstanding player.
In addition to its PR and social media efforts, Adidas has TV rights during the game on Sunday to run its commercials, and the field boards and scoreboards are branded, making the game itself a "huge platform in terms of viewership," noted Ehrlich.
While he said he could not disclose future plans for @Brazuca, Adidas will continue to interact with fans through the platform in creative ways once the World Cup is over.
The brand will also continue telling stories around soccer after the tournament.
"The Adidas soccer conversation does not end at the final whistle," he explained. "We’ll continue to tell stories and we have some exciting product launches coming up in the near future."
From the US perspective, Adidas is hosting several events for the upcoming Major League Soccer All-Star Week in August, which takes place in the brand’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. Ehrlich said the event will feature a number of US men's national team players who played in the World Cup.
During the World Cup, Adidas’ US PR agency partner Golin helped with communications, while global partner We Are Social worked on digital efforts.