No matter what field or market, every business has something in common: words. They all rely on words to catch clients’ attention, to convince them, to engage them and finally – or hopefully – to convert. We can count thousand of good copywriting cases in different businesses, but there is an industry that can boast many great examples of good copies: sports industry. 

Sport is an emotional sector, it touches people passions and it goes straight to their feelings. That is why copywriters find in this field an endless source of creativity. We want to show you five great examples of successful campaigns together with five rules to follow to make an outstanding use of words. As we will see, in none of the following copies, brands are talking about their product, instead, they are focusing on the emotional side of their offer.

1)  “Yesterday you said tomorrow”  – Nike on Rule one: Be effective

It’s not a secret: Nike is a master when it comes to advertising, starting from its iconic slogan “Just do it”, created by Wieden&Kennedy agency in 1988 and still so powerful and convincing. So let’s start with this strong campaign by W&K: the message is so loud and clear that there is no picture needed. The copy is short and simple, they use as fewer words as possible and they create a connection between them and the reader, a you-us relationship. To be effective, don’t add useless words and talk straight to your client. Make them feel that you know them so they can trust you.

2)   “Wimbledone” – Adidas on Rule two: Be playful

It’s 2013 when Andy Murray beats Novak Djokovic and wins Wimbledon. Adidas, one of the tennis star’s sponsors, decided to celebrate his success with a remarkable play on words. “Wimbledone“: in one word they could tell anyone that Andy Murray made history of tennis by winning on the most famous lawn on earth. This is a great example of how breaking the rules of perfect language sometimes can make you reach unexpected results: don’t be afraid, take all the elements you have and try to come up with something new. Make people smile and you will have their attention. 

Credit: Adweek

3)   “Is what you do in the dark that puts you in the light”  – Under Armour on Rule three: Be inspiring

Created by Droga5 agency for the Olympics of 2016, this ad focuses on the emotional side of the game: what the copy tells us is that anyone’s struggles and efforts will be paid back with satisfaction and success. Instead of saying “You have to sacrifice a big part of your life to have good results”, which is not very tempting, they use a poetic slogan and persuade you that any hard moment will be rewarded. The video about swimming champion Micheal Phelps touches our feelings and make us want to do the same: to work hard and reach the top. People will never forget the inspirational vibes that the ad made them feel. In other words: emotions sell.

4)   “Time is precious” – Nike on Rule four: Be ruthless

Another Nike example. This ad is literally just a sequence of words on a black background and still, it’s like you’re watching a commercial made of video frames: you don’t need images because they are already in your mind. This is how powerful words can be. The campaign by W&K is about running but it is focused instead on the exact opposite: what you are doing when you are not running. The message is crystal clear and it goes straight to the target without mercy: take your time to do sports and leave the rest.

5)   “The game before the game” – Beats Solo 2 on Rule five: Be a storyteller

This advertising by Beats and R/GA studio is telling us a story about pre-game rituals. The main character of the video is the football star Neymar Jr. who talks to his father in a simple, inspiring and touching dialogue (of course studied in details by sharp copywriters). The ad uses an everyday language, a language that everyone can recognize. “The game before the game” tells us that there are unknown stories beyond every match and by listening to Neymar’s father we are curious to know them all. So, don’t talk too much about yourself, create a story and show your clients more than your product features.

In all these examples, the focal point is not the product. Brands are describing instead a state of mind to engage their audience. So, after identifying your target and the right tone of voice, try not to celebrate yourself but focus on your clients, aim straight for their emotional side and go for short, relevant and accurate copies. Words are your best ally, use them wisely.