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Sporty Billboard Advertisements

Nike-tugboat outside of TorontoThe wholesale sports apparel market is $70 billion. Collectively, Americans spend about as much on sports apparel ($30 billion) as Tennessee does on its entire state budget (about $33 billion). The largest two wholesalers are Nike and Adidas at $27 billion and almost $20 billion.

Obviously, Nike and Adidas can afford one or more fancy billboard advertisements. While money spent does not always equal effective advertising, we have two great examples of advertisements that definitely score winning points.

Nike: Pulling that Tugboat

Nike bought a mobile billboard to be pulled on Lake Ontario. However, the board is so big and the tug boat so small, that at first glance the man looks like he is pulling a tug boat. For those of us who are not hockey fans, the “Ready for your :45” needs a little explanation. It refers to the three quarters of an hour that a hockey player spends on the ice. Clearly, Nike wants us to believe that if you train in their cloths you will be ready for the next hockey game (even if it is Wayne Gretzy).

Adidas: Maybe I Could Be as Good as Petr Cech

Adidas-ViennaOne of Adidas’ creative ideas was to create a 60 meter (197 feet) tall image of Petr Cech apparently blocking all soccer balls passing through the fames Prater Ferris wheel while in Vienna. In this case the real estate maxim of “Location, Location, Location” works great. The ad went up on the front side of the Ferris wheel just in time for the 2008 EuroCup tournament. (The featured goalie happens to play for the Czech National Team)

Why They Work

Besides being humorous and big, these boards also make strong references that their local audience is sure to get. The advertiser “gets the audience.” Surely any of us would want to be strong and athletic enough to play 45 minutes of professional hockey? Personally I can’t imagine being a goalie even if I had 6 arms. Because these are not typical advertisements, they stand out. They are not typical

What We Learn

Remember that budget is not everything, audacity, imagination and a really creative design firm matter as much or more.

Nike built on the Canadian love of hockey. They reached out to people’s hometown loyalty. (We would have to use football for the same effect for a Tennessee Billboard.)

Adidas showed that owning a unique piece of geography important to people dedicated to soccer works. Most advertising at sport arenas like Neyland Stadium or Dudley Field work off of the same principle. (Call us if you have an interest.) However, they also used the attributes of the physical structure effectively as well and timed their advertisement well to make use of the excitement generated by the European Cup.

In the end, each company created a standout, memorable outdoor advertisement or billboard.