Execution: TV, Web
Link: Click Here (click to enter Adidas Soccer Site, and watch movie part I and II)
Target: Soccer Enthusiasts
In a dusty Latin American slum, two boys sit in an abandoned alley, kicking a ball against a wall. In Spanish, Jose asks his friend Pedro if he wants to play a game and the boys start picking a fantasy team of some of the world’s best players. As they call each name, the superstars, including Caca (Brasil), Zidane (France) and Beckham (England) trot out but then Jose picks Beckenbauer, the dominant German Midfielder from the 70′s. Pedro laughs for a second, then his jaw drops open as the legendery and youthful Beckenbauer trots out. Jose sends one of the players into goal, makes others change positions and general treats them like pick-up players playing with his ball. The first spot ends with the kickoff of the game. The second spot, which will air later in the World Cup shows the game itself, with the predictably miraculous playing from the athletes.
We chose this spot for just one reason: authenticity of voice. In many other ways, this could easily have been another throwaway World Cup spot where we all get to see great players perform amazing feats, but nobody can remember the brand the next day. What separates this Adidas spot from all of the other efforts is the connection it makes to the soccer world experienced by most of its fans – soccer as fantasy. Adidas understands as few others have that soccer is about dreams for over a billion fans worldwide. It gives these ordinary people an outlet for their imagination. Few of them will ever get to play in a World Cup and even fewer will become legends, but every single one of these boys and girls will be transported from the reality of their lives by the fantasy of the beautiful game. This spot does an amazing job of recreating that sense of possibility that Jose feels as a young boy in a tough neighborhood. It shows the power of soccer to transform.
Because the voice is so authentic, so utterly convincing, it does link back to Adidas and to the brand. It tells us that Adidas understands the sport and shares the passion. That is a strong positioning for Adidas against Nike, which is a relative newcomer to the sport and has a lesser claim to being an authentic soccer company.
Spots like this break some of the conventional rules of branding (such as keeping the brand visibility high) by achieving breakthrough levels of attention and engagement from users. They are most successful at energizing the most faithful brand supporters. There is a necessary risk when creating this type of spot and the risk is that it will be art-directed into mediocrity. This has not happened in this case and it is a credit to Adidas. But campaigning such a finely-executed theme can be difficult and would represent a real challenge for a director or agency who are not at a world-class level.
Branding Bottom Line:
Adidas shoots and scores. Unlike the U.S. team.