Friday, August 22, 2008

Grapple in the Apple

With the U.S. Open starting next week, Nike is launching an ad campaign focusing on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The two are on top of the sport, and recently played in a classic five-set battle at Wimbledon that some are calling the greatest match in tennis history.

The ad features boxing promoter Don King and pits to the two athletes against each other as if they were about to face off in the ring.

It seems like a good idea. Federer and Nadal have the tennis world wrapped around their fingers. But, with any ad campaign that focuses on athletes there is always a risk that they will be eliminated early in the tournament. The risk is even higher when you pit two against each other.

Nike gambled and won when it ran this Sampras/Agassi ad in 1995, and the two met in the U.S. Open finals.

More recently, they have taken this risk off the table by focusing on ummmmm non-athletic qualities of one of its tennis stars.

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