In advertising, superstar soccer players, such as the preternaturally talented Lionel Messi, are usually seen as untouchable heroes, channeling skills that can never be matched by mere mortals. This new campaign from Adidas, the first major creative work for the brand by agency 72andSunny, seeks to turn all that on its head and asks aspiring athletes to “unfollow” sporting idols and do things their own way.
A 90-second film, which sits at the heart of the “Create Your Own Game” campaign, shows a young player posting a statement of intent about his future greatness on social media. “Listen up world,” he says, “I’m not just any footballer. Mark my words. I’ll be one of the best. And have it all. I’ll be a beast–a creator.” Throughout, world class soccer players Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller, along with NBA’s Ricky Rubio, are seen showcasing their prodigious skills with Messi casually hitting tiny targets set up on a goalmouth as if he is barely trying.
“These are not just my heroes anymore; they’re my competition,” the young player says, adding: ” I’ll take on all of them and create something new.” The young player ends his post: “You might want to follow me. Don’t. Create your own thing.”
It is this final statement, which underpins what Adidas is heralding as a “complete shift in how Adidas communicates as a company.” Instead of expecting fans to idolize and try to copy established sporting stars, the brand is encouraging them to yes, be inspired, but to create their own versions. Or, in the brand’s words, “to create, not emulate.”