MONZA: Adidas has congratulated its rival Nike and Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge after the latter narrowly missed out on a an attempt to break the two-hour barrier for running a marathon.
The sportswear rivals are locked in a race to enable an athlete to run the 26 miles in under two hours, and when Kipchoge completed the distance in two hours and 25 seconds at the weekend, @adidasrunning was moved to tweet: @Nike Congratulations @EliudKipchoge on such a courageous run.
Nike had developed customised versions of its new Zoom footwear, assembled a team of trainers and three top runners as part of its Breaking2 'moonshot' programme – which has also acted as a marketing platform for the Zoom range of shoes, The Drum reported.
The publicity generated around Kipchoge's effort – live video was posted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and viewed 4.9m times – has fed into a campaign inviting people to run a sub-25 minute 5,000 metres next weekend, recorded using the Nike Running app, in order to unlock early access to the new Nike Zoom Fly sneaker.
Earlier this year, adidas unveiled the Adizero Sub2 Boost shoe as part of the brand's Sub2 programme – with similar goals to Nike's Breaking2 – and which it described as "central to the future of adidas running".
While both brands are developing advanced footwear technology as they seek to put their names on the first sub-two-hour marathon, there is at least one major difference in their outlooks.
Nike's weekend attempt took place on a closed circuit – the Formula One circuit at Monza – and involved the use of pacesetters in breach of IAAF rules, while adidas has said it plans to break the record in a sanctioned race.
Adidas, which last week reported significantly increased first quarter sales in the US (+31% year on year) and China (+30%), has stated its intention of moving away from traditional media channels.
"It's clear that the younger consumer engages with us predominately over the mobile device," chief executive Kasper Rorsted told CNBC earlier this year. "Digital engagement is key for us; you don't see any TV advertising anymore."
Data sourced from The Drum, Campaign, CNBC, Running Shoes Guru; additional content by WARC staff