Nike Vs Adidas: The Better Sports Marketing Inspiration

In the world of sports marketing, there are two brands that most marketers look up to – Nike and Adidas. Both of these brands started out from humble origins and have built their legacies slowly but steadily. From celebrity endorsements to sports event sponsorships, there are many ways in which these brands steadily strengthen their positions in the market. But if you had to choose between the two, Nike Vs Adidas, who is the better marketing inspiration? Let’s find out. After all, it is from such head-to-head duels from big brands that you get some of the most valuable marketing lessons.

A Bit of Introduction 

Nike and Adidas are among the two most recognized sports brands among U.S. customers. With nearly 89.71% of them recognizing Nike and 89.62% recognizing Adidas. That’s quite close. 

So, how did these brands grow to become these massive players in the segment? Let’s find out, but before that, here is a bit of history, to begin with. 


Formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike was founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight in the year 1964. The first ever store was opened in 1966. And the rest, as we know, is history. 

Today, the brand sells footwear, bags, and a wide range of sports accessories. The Nike Swoosh logo is often cited as an example of timeless logo design. It exemplifies the impact of simplicity. This has been possible only because of the strong branding strategies adopted by the brand. 


Adi Dassler started making shoes in his mother’s laundry room. His brother Rudolf then joined him and thus the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory was founded. After the split between Rudolf and Adi Dassler, two companies Puma and Adidas came into existence. 

Today, the brand caters to a wide range of sports goods with a portfolio quite similar to that of Nike. Unlike Nike, Adidas has a bunch of logos appearing on different product lines. Like the 3-stripes on the performance sports collection, and the trefoil logo on casual wear from the brand. And of course, there is the standard mountain logo that we all know. 

Sports Marketing Inspiration From Nike’s Campaigns 

1. Enthrall your audience with visuals 

Below are some emails from Nike. Take a look at them and you’ll know what we mean. 

Notice something? The brand uses lively colors, prominent positioning of the logo, and other details. But they all have one thing in common and that is the presence of a catchy visual. Whether it is the promotion of a product or a sale announcement or even a personalized discount., the brand impresses with its interactive visually rich emails. 

Visuals have always been one of the biggest strengths of Nike. And it manages to captivate its audience across marketing channels with the use of impactful images and videos. 

Want to create such alluring email designs to wow your audience? Choose a Kimp Graphics subscription. 

2. Celebrity endorsements can make a huge difference 

Nike has always had celebrity endorsements both in TV commercials and on social media. The well-known Air Jordan range of shoes was, in fact, a result of the endorsement deal with Michael Jordan. Today it is one of the most successful brands of Nike. 


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A post shared by Jordan (@jumpman23)

Widening your brand’s reach by reaching out to the fans of celebrities in the same segment is a brilliant idea. And most sports brands use this strategy. 

As a small business just starting out, celebrity endorsements might not always be in your budget. But the world of social media opens up new possibilities for such instances, in the form of influencers. Find a micro-influencer whose audience group is similar to that of your sports brand and you are good to go! Collaborations like these are quite powerful, especially in the early days of your business. 

Because influencers can play a huge role in helping people trust your brand a little more. 

3. The best way to promote your product is by building awareness 

If you look at most promotional campaigns as well as social media posts from Nike you will notice that the brand does not promote its products in the traditional “salesy” fashion. You will not see too much fuss over the product itself. It mostly focuses on the people that actually use the products, the sports people around the world. And of course, a lot about the sport itself. 

But in the few posts that the brand creates around its products, it emphasizes the key details. It builds on nostalgia or gets straight to the point celebrating what makes the product special. Like this one that shows how the evolution of the range. 

When you have to promote your products, give people something strong to connect with. When you advertise a particular feature consistently, you will make your customers fall in love with the feature. And this feature will become the selling point of that product. 

Kimp Tip: When you create product demo videos and feature highlight videos, keep the design clutter-free. So that the focus is entirely on the product. As you can see in the above video from Nike. Let your product dominate the screen real estate. The more your customers see your product, the more they will remember it. 

Want to create stunning product videos for your brand? Choose a Kimp Video subscription. 

4. Embrace inclusivity 

Nike released a video ad featuring Colin Kaepernick. And this turned out to be one of the most controversial Nike ads ever. 

If you do not know about this campaign, here’s a little background. Colin Kaepernick, a football quarterback stood for black lives. And today he is an American civil rights activist. In a 2016 game, he knelt down, while the national anthem played, as a protest against the police killings of African Americans

Several people voiced against Kaepernick and so when Nike released an ad featuring him, the brand received a strong backlash. People showed their opposition by burning Nike shoes and more. 

In response to this, Gino Fisanotti, the vice-president of Nike said, “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward. We wanted to energise its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”

Yes, the brand faced hatred from a large portion of the US population. But then there were many who fell in love with the brand for its strong ideology. The brand remained true to what it stands for and this won hearts. 

So, define what your brand stands for. And take a firm stance even if that means going against the crowd. People will love you for being authentic. Your customers will respect your brand a little more for your strong brand personality. 

5. Let the people behind your brand be the voice of your brand 

Nike regularly shares content featuring the people behind the brand. It’s an example of why having a strong corporate culture and talking about it on social media can be helpful to brands. For sports brands, this could be in the form of posts celebrating employees and fitness coaches working with the brand. 

Kimp Tip: When you have to share stories or even informative content from your employees have a strong visual template in place. This way, these posts with your employees in the spotlight will stand out on your social media page amidst other regular content. 

Need help creating social media posts for your brand? A Kimp Graphics subscription is just what you need. 

Sports Marketing Inspiration From Adidas Campaigns 

1. Keep it fun and engaging 

While most of Nike’s posts are quite refined and to the point, Adidas shares a few light-hearted and engaging ones now and then. Like this fun meme Adidas shared on Twitter and the poll that followed. 

Ads, emails, and a whole lot of other channels are available for promoting your brand and products. But these are all one-way communication tools. Social media is the signature two-way communication channel for brands. So, make the most of it by creating interactive posts. 

To encourage interaction, share inspiring quotes or even stories about your brand. And ask customers to share their stories or tag someone who will relate to the post. Ask questions, and respond to their comments. That’s how you increase engagement on social media. 

2. Go big with brand collabs 

Nike sticks with several original collections. And you will notice just a few brand partnerships. On the other hand, Adidas goes big when it comes to brand collaborations. The Marvel and Lego collections in the Adidas kids’ range are great examples. 

And the Adidas Gucci collab is another one worth mentioning. These are brands with two very different dynamics. And the target audiences are quite different too. But yes, there is a small overlap especially when it comes to the age group. So, the collaboration actually worked out. Partnerships like these can greatly influence people’s perceptions of a brand. 

So, if you think your brand image needs a subtle uplifting, then find the most relevant brand collaboration for that. 

3. Stand for the greater good 

In the Nike Vs Adidas comparisons you will notice that both these brands never shy away from voicing their opinions for a noble cause. Adidas, like Nike, regularly shares posts that show how much it supports inclusivity. Here’s one against racism.

And here is another online challenge Adidas hosted to contribute to the frontline heroes. The contributions to the COVID relief fund came directly from customers using the Adidas Running and Training apps as well as a few partner apps. People will be more than willing to support a brand that stands for the greater good. And measures like these increase the downloads and engagement rates on your website or app as well.

Voicing your opinion at times of political and cultural crisis will be one way to show customers that there are actual people behind the brand. Because people have feelings. People take sides. And people have opinions. 

People love communicating with people more than with brands. So, humanize your brand through this approach. This just strengthens the credibility of your brand and gets your customers to respect your brand a little more. 

4. Add value to your customers 

The value you offer does not end with the products you sell. Information is another priceless asset to share with your customers. When you share information pertaining to your niche, you are showing customers your expertise in the area. And thus you are building trust. 

On its YouTube channel, Adidas regularly shares informative content. The 3-stripes sessions are great examples. They talk about topics like “how to warm up before a workout” or “how to dribble a soccer ball”. And there is the I’MPOSSIBLE series that brings inspirational stories. Motivation is another value to offer customers. 

Kimp Tip: Since Adidas regularly has video series dealing with different types of content, it makes the most of thumbnails to establish the aesthetics of its Feed. As you can see in the above example, these thumbnails help in adding a touch of personalization. They tell the audience what the content is about in just a few moments. And they also make the Feed look aesthetically appealing. 

Wondering how to use thumbnails to make your YouTube channel look more pleasant? Get in touch with the Kimp team today. 

Create Trendsetting Sports Marketing Campaigns With Kimp 

When you compare the campaigns of Nike Vs Adidas, you will notice that both these brands are on par when it comes to exciting their customers and building their brand image consistently. Looking at how competitive brands are getting in marketing, it is evident that you need to go big or go home. You need the best designs to have the best conversations with your customers. But getting the best designs to do the talking for your brand does not always have to be an expensive affair. With a Kimp subscription, you can cover all your sports marketing designs and video design requirements at a flat monthly rate. 

Sign up for your free trial today.