All Stars of Advertising.

The 2014 World Cup has come and gone but in Portland, we’ve earned our nickname as Soccer City this past week. On the heels of futbol mania in Brazil, The MLS All Star game ended in a 2-1 victory Thursday over Bayern Munich at Providence Park in downtown Portland.  And through it all, the Rose City was alive with the spirit of Football and of course, some pretty cool branded experiences.

Adidas created the MLS Experience at Pioneer Courthouse Square for 5 days leading up to the big game. They held viewing parties, autograph sessions, concerts and even created a custom turf field, where visitors and fans could kick the ol’ soccer ball around a bit (and of course, try out the newest Adidas product).  The installation overall was well executed and hard to miss. If you work or play anywhere near downtown Portland, it was hard to miss. They also took advantage of the Summer tourist season (Portland is SO hot right now) which led to a great turnout over the week. They also built on the local base by offering certain elements of the experience (including a viewing party) tailored specifically to Timbers fans.

Not to be outdone by Adidas (who is an official MLS sponsor, part owner and outfitter of one of the teams meaning the tourney had a decidedly three-striped flavor), Nike went outside the box a bit, and, well, onto a barge with their marketing.

The “Winner Stays” tournament was a 4v4 soccer tournament that took place IN the Willamette River, on a branded barge. I’m sure the tournament itself was a beast to pull off but and based on the social chatter, it sounds overall like the participants and spectators enjoyed the experience.

As an agency, we were most impressed with the full 360’ story that Nike told with this experience. It went beyond a sponsorship. They took their big idea and found a way to make it feel very local and authentic. They started out by building buzz and generating quite a bit of social conversation around the market with the actual construction of the barge.

They supported the event with some pretty awesome looking Out of Home media around the area, including some huge wallscapes around the central eastside where the tournament would take place. The messaging was also paid off at retail in Nike stores around the area, including the iconic Nike Town right in the downtown core near the MLS village. Additionally, the entire experience stemmed from the big creative idea of Winner Stays that Nike launched late in April leading up to the World Cup.

Here at R\West, we call it Story Selling. It’s what we do for our clients every day and we love to see it happening on our home turf.

Written by: Danielle Perez

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