Nike have had some great ad campaigns over the years but few come close to their World cup 2002 spectacular ‘The Secret Tournament.”
The Secret Tournament (also known as “Scorpion KO or “The Cage) was a Nike global advertising campaign coinciding with the 2002 FIFA World Cup. With a marketing budget estimated at US$100 million, the advert featured 24 top football players with Eric Cantona as the tournament “referee”.
The concept of the advertising campaign was a fictional tournament involving eight teams of three of football’s top players in a first-goal-wins elimination. The matches were staged in an enclosed pitch located on a ship with former footballer Eric Cantona acting in the role of referee.
Following the run of the original advert, it was quickly followed up by a “Rematch” advert, featuring the two teams from the original final. The two teams played in the interior of the hull of the ship, no longer within a cage, and scored goals by hitting the bulkheads within a painted-on rectangle.