World Cup 2010 Ads: Nike vs Adidas - TheStreet

World Cup 2010 Ads: Nike vs Adidas

The U.S. vs. England game is not the only trans-Atlantic battle this week -- Nike and Adidas are locked in a World Cup advertising struggle.
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NEW YORK. (

TheStreet

) -- The U.S. vs. England World Cup 2010 soccer game is not the only big trans-Atlantic battle grabbing the headlines at the moment. Sports giants

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

and

Adidas

are locked in a World Cup advertising struggle.

U.S. manufacturer Nike has pulled out all the stops with its World Cup ad. In addition to soccer stars Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo (to name just two), Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer and even Homer Simpson all make an appearance in the cinematic "Write The Future" ad.

Filmed by Hollywood director Alejandro Inarritu, the man behind

Babel

and

Amores Perros

, the tongue-in-cheek ad also features cameos from U.S. national team stars Landon Donovan and Tim Howard.

Heralded by Nike as one of its best ads ever, "Write the Future" has generated massive buzz. The ad, which made its TV debut during the May 22 Champions League final, has been watched more than 14 million times on

YouTube

. (See it below.)

Nike, traditionally associated with American sports, has been ramping up its soccer presence since the 90s. The company's World Cup ads have underpinned this strategy; its 1998 World Cup ad, featuring the Brazilian squad scrimmaging in an airport, was particularly popular. Nike's latest offering seems destined for similar success and has been greeted with

critical acclaim

on

both sides of the Atlantic

.

German sports giant Adidas has been synonymous with soccer for more than 50 years, but is also taking a quirky, off-beat approach to its 2010 World Cup advertising. The latest ad to promote its Adidas Originals/Star Wars collection is set in the famous "cantina" from the original

Star Wars

movie and features a lightsaber-wielding Snoop Dogg as well as David Beckham. Other stars in the ad include British musicians Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown. German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, formerly of the New York Cosmos, also makes a bemused cameo appearance. (See the video below).

Adidas, which is the official World Cup apparel sponsor, also has another, soccer-specific ad, entitled "The Quest." The latest ad in Adidas' "Every Team Needs" series, opens with French star Zinedine Zidane, famously sent off in the 2006 final, and features a slew of 2010 stars including Argentina's Lionel Messi, South Africa captain Steven Pienaar and England midfielder Steven Gerrard.

The Adidas Jabulani, the official ball of the 2010 World Cup

The German manufacturer is also the World Cup ball sponsor, although the 2010 tournament ball, the "Jabulani," has so far proved something of a PR disaster. Jabulani, which means "to celebrate" in Zulu, has already been slammed by a number of big-name players who are concerned about its unpredictable aerial movement. Goalkeepers, unsurprisingly, are particularly concerned about the ball, although England midfielder and free-kick specialist Frank Lampard is

looking to exploit the Jabulani's unusual performance.

Perhaps inadvertently, Adidas is making the 2010 World Cup that bit more spectacular.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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