The strategy: content roll-out and promotion
• Neither Nike nor Adidas has been strafing consumers with video content to rack up uniques or watch time. Rather, both brands have focused on producing a small number of broadcast-quality pieces (which, in many cases, are indeed also destined for TV—in whole or in part—as traditional commercials) and promoting them across social media to draw eyeballs. For instance, in May and June, Adidas uploaded 14 videos to its YouTube channel; Nike uploaded 26 during the same time frame.
The Olympic angle
Some timely context: In addition to partnering with various individual Olympic athletes, both Nike and Adidas have formal relationships at the country level. Nike is a Team USA sponsor through 2028 and Adidas is a sponsor of Team GB (Great Britain) through 2024.
The top-performing videos
• Both brands continue to be heavily focused on producing video content in collaboration with athletes and creators. For instance, Nike’s most-seen video (60.2 million views globally) on YouTube from May to now, titled “Play New” (see below), features a cast of high-profile athletes including sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu and Paralympic international medalist Blake Leeper. That said, Nike’s second most-seen YouTube video (33.7 million views globally) during the same time period is “The Land of New Football,” a stylish brand meditation on inclusivity in the (European) sport (also below).
• Adidas, meanwhile, worked with various athletes and celebrities around the world for the latest installments of its “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign—though, interestingly, from May forward the top-performing video in the series (50.4 million views globally) is an eco-conscious rallying cry titled “Impossible Is Nothing - End Plastic Waste” (see below) that isn’t personality-centric. The second most-seen piece during the same time period (8.0 million views globally) is a Japanese-language “Impossible Is Nothing” video starring Japanese basketball star Monica Okoye, who’s competing at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.