Nike steps up marketing support for Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Nike is launching its first marketing campaign focused entirely on Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic as it looks to exploit his rising global profile in the run-up to the World Cup.

The Swedish footballer is fronting Nike’s “Dare to Zlatan” campaign that humorously riffs on his confident demeanour. Upcoming outdoor, social media and TV ads will encourage people to “attempt the impossible” just like the footballer claims to do in matches.

A series of tongue-in-cheek videos have launched online featuring the footballer overcoming potentially hazardous scenarios. Ibrahimovich is shown posing while wearing sunglasses in front of a volcano in one advert, scoring into a snow tiger’s den in another, before the final ad shows him using his instincts to perform tricks while blindfolded during an earthquake.

It is understood future promotions could see Ibrahimovic face-off against fellow Nike ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo in various contests.

The Wieden + Kennedy-created campaign was teased yesterday (10 March) when Ibrahimovic answered questions from Twitter users about how to play the Zlatan way. It led to comical results with the footballer asking the social network to allow him to break the 140-character limit.

Nike is banking on the player’s self-awareness to inject its football marketing with more fun than previous efforts. The star’s popularity has grown to the extent that the word Zlatan is a recognised verb in his native Sweden and Nike is hoping the campaign introduces the phrase to other markets.

It is Nike’s first major marketing drive focused on Ibrahimovic. It comes at a time when the player’s global profile has never been higher following a string of headline grabbing international performances for his country and a successful season with his club. He will not, however, compete at this summer’s World Cup and Nike will use him its wider marketing campaign for the tournament.

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