2014 FIFA World Cup - adidas Youth Programme
Leo Messi celebrating after a goal
Range of Adidas Predator football boots
Costa Rica player
Players wearing Adidas football boots
Light Show on building

Dedication and commitment

Stretching back to 1970, FIFA and adidas have one of the longest and most successful partnerships in modern sports marketing history. Indeed, an extension of their long-term partnership was recently agreed, granting adidas the Official Partner, Supplier and Licensee rights for the FIFA World Cup™ and all FIFA events until 2030.

adidas will continue to supply the Official Match Ball of the FIFA World Cup™ and provide unique uniforms for thousands of volunteers. In addition, a wide range of adidas/FIFA World Cup™ licensed products will be on sale worldwide. adidas also secured similar rights to all other FIFA tournaments during this time period, including the FIFA Women's World Cup™ and the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Multiple strands

The adidas “all in or nothing” campaign was a global sensation in the lead-up and during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ with a multi-stranded strategy, the biggest in the company’s history, that harnessed some of the game’s most iconic names as well as original music from the likes of Kanye West.

A global television and print campaign was supplemented with dedicated YouTube videos, light shows in Rio de Janeiro in support of the brazuca launch, and even a new ad featuring an all-star cast of footballing legends.

House Match, with City of God director Fernando Meirelles in the chair, saw Lucas Moura, Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale start an impromptu kick-about game inside David Beckham’s “house”  – nothing was out of bounds as sofas, walls and chandeliers all took punishment from some of the most skilled footballers the world has ever seen.

Kanye West provided the musical backdrop to an adidas TV spot, entitled The Dream and featuring Leo Messi. The Dream, which ended by challenging viewers to choose “all in or nothing, was a YouTube sensation, viewed close to 39 Million times by the time we went to press.

Live from the dugout

adidas utilised its YouTube channel to present a series of programmes throughout the tournament. The Dugout featured live shows broadcast from Rio and starring Brazilian football stars Kaka, Cafu and Lucas Moura – one episode also featured special guest David Beckham.

Football fans submitted questions for guests via adidas’ social media platforms, giving them an experience of access normally limited to journalists.

Meet the teams

Leo Messi is just one of a host of sporting and cultural icons associated with adidas and he, like adidas players Oscar, James Rodriguez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, departed Brazil knowing they had made a huge contribution to what many are calling the best FIFA World Cup™ of all time.

adidas-backed teams also left an indelible mark on the tournament. Nine international sides wore the iconic three stripes with pride, including finalists Argentina and Germany.

All in with adidas were: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and Spain.

brazuca hits the target

The adidas brazuca, Official Match Ball for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, was a tournament sensation, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the world’s best footballers.

adidas took a first-person approach to marketing brazuca that resonated with fans everywhere – in addition to a web presence announcing “I am brazuca, centre of the FIFA World Cup™,” an official Twitter account (@brazuca) garnered 3.4 Million followers and the timeline was filled with light-hearted and informative tweets and pictures.

brazuca went through a thorough testing process over a two and a half year period prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, involving more than 600 of the world’s top players and 30 teams in ten countries across three continents – brazuca is the most tested ball ever by adidas.

Used brazuca official match balls collected from the 64 games were highly sought after and were utilised as prizes and gifts in a wide variety of competitions and activations.

Lionel Messi of Argentina shoots wide during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match


goals were scored at the tournament, the joint-highest in FIFA World Cup™ history

adidas Youth Programme

The FIFA Fair Play Flag Bearers, selected by adidas, were responsible for carrying the yellow and blue FIFA Fair Play flag onto the field of play during the pre-game line-up ceremonies.

Recruitment of 384 flag bearers was a huge task and adidas employed a variety of methods to ensure as many deserving youngsters as possible from around the world had a chance of securing a spot, either through adidas’ own retail outlets, via social media or through local NGO partnerships.

Captain, our captain

For the first time at a FIFA World Cup™, the role of the adidas Stadium Captain was introduced. adidas selected individuals as the Stadium Captain for each match. Their responsibilities included placing the adidas brazuca Official Match Ball onto the plinth for collection by the referee prior to kick-off. 

Fully equipped

Almost everyone involved with the successful staging of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ – from Leo Messi to the volunteers working tirelessly behind the scenes- were kitted out with adidas apparel.

Ball crews all received adidas bags, shoes, socks, shorts, pants, jersey, track top and cap, while an equally comprehensive selection of clothing went to the National Flag Bearers, the FIFA Flag Bearers, FIFA Fair Play Flag Bearers and the Players Escorts.

In addition, the referees and assistant referees were each provided with caps, watches, socks, wristbands, polo shirt, presentation suit, rain jacket, training jersey, training shorts, training suit, undershirt, football boots, running shoes, sports bags and, of course, on-field uniforms.

The many thousands of volunteers in Brazil, meanwhile, all sported caps, socks, T-shirts, rain jackets, tracktops, zip-off pants and running shoes. They all received an adidas backpack, compliments of Johnson & Johnson.  In addition, Organising Committee (OC) members and FIFA Officials received adidas clothing.

adidas awards

Although football is the world’s favourite team game, it is important to acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of individual players. adidas awards have become an integral part of all FIFA tournaments.

At the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, Argentina’s Leo Messi, Colombia’s James Rodriguez and Manuel Neuer from Germany were awarded the adidas Golden Ball Award, the adidas Golden Boot Award and the adidas Golden Glove Award respectively.

"We always knew that real time communications would be the best way for adidas to win the World Cup. We are so engrained and connected to the sport through our products, players and federations, there is never a moment in football where we are absent and, I believe, our knowledge and understanding of the game means we are the most engaging brand with football fans."

Tom Ramsden, adidas Global Brand Marketing Director Football

Simon Wright, Director FIFA & UEFA Global Sports Marketing Football

Simon Wright, Director FIFA & UEFA Global Sports Marketing Football


When did planning for your brand/company start on the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ project?

Overall planning phase commenced in 2010. The primary kick-off from a brand marketing perspective started in the summer of 2012.

What was the most satisfying part of your FIFA World Cup™ activation?

  • Over the duration of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, adidas has been the most talked about brand with an increase of 5.8m followers across all major social media platforms.
  • Securing victory on and off the pitch by outperforming competition in real-time marketing with the "all in or nothing" campaign.
  • The innovative participation of the ball as a key social driver was indeed groundbreaking and most satisfying also.

What were the key challenges you faced in the lead-up and during the event and how did you work to overcome these?

Let's look at this from two angles, operations and marketing.

Firstly operations: security, transport and accommodation preparation on the ground were challenging from the outset. We sought to solve this via early planning, early resource allocation and planning, early establishment of local and global partnerships, and early deployment of company and agency experts, as well as early hiring of additional, local, event-phase support. In general we could be fairly satisfied as to how things rolled out finally during the event phase.

In terms of marketing, our focus was on real-time marketing and concentrating on delivering the adidas point of view of what happens on the field of play. We had a variety of pre-prepared content to enable this and to leverage key moments of matches. The biggest challenge was therefore rather obviously the unforeseen elements that occurred during and around the games. Our unprecedented Rio based social hub comprising of a large number of experts from our organisation and the related wider industry enabled us to be fluid in our reactions and allowed coordinated real-time decision making to ensue to great effect.

Which key communication channels did you use to engage with customers both in Brazil as well as those following the tournament around the world?

  • Social Media Channels: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other including those of adidas contracted assets (Players, NAs, Clubs, etc)
  • TV/ATL Commercials
  • Print/Magazine
  • Retail/BTL

How does your Partnership with FIFA enable you to reach your key brand objectives?

The partnership with FIFA allows adidas as a brand to use certain exclusive channels to communicate with supporters and consumers. The partnership helped us as a brand to grow within the football community and provide exclusive access to unique content. Moreover, our direct involvement with the tournament gives us the privileged position of having a unique point of view on key moments around the games. The unique and extensive exposure and access we enjoy, combined with a compelling set of event and commercial rights enables us to leverage our brand to the max and further reinforce our global football leadership position in a credible and authoritative manner.

How would you rate the overall success of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ as a brand and as a supporter?

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been an outstanding success for adidas football as we have dominated performance on and off the field. Statistics also indicate that all internal KPIs and objectives have been fulfilled.

  • 1.59m conversations – Most talked about brand related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™
  • 5.8m – Increase in followers across all major social media platforms
  • 14.5% – Fastest growing football community in social media
  • +38m – Most viewed sports brand on YouTube; based on videos published during the tournament period
  • 2.98m (603%) – Growth of @brazuca Twitter handle in the tournament period
  • 917k – Most used brand hashtag on Twitter (#allin)

In terms of the product itself, the quality of football was consistently at a very good level, with a very impressive and perhaps unprecedented level of competitiveness. The host nation did a good job overall also. With all things considered, one has to deem the event to have been a great success.

What was the highlight moment for you personally at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™?

An all adidas Final with the key players of the tournament being adidas sponsored athletes. The spirit of the Copacabana, a melting pot of fans and cultures from across the globe.

How many matches did you watch live, and how many stadiums did you visit over the tournament?

14 matches, 7 stadiums.