The Sports Marketing Industrial Complex has a few hard and fast rules that most brands stick to in order to effectively compete for our sweat-soaked, fanboy dollars. One of these involves fighting over and enlisting as many elite athletes as possible to pledge fealty to their logo, in order to construct an image of success and dominance of skill. With its latest ad, Adidas has seemingly pulled a Costanza and willfully done the opposite.
The ad, from agency 72andSunny and directed by Henry-Alex Rubin, opens with the usual and well-earned praise and gushing admiration for global soccer star Lionel Messi, by way of found footage and real media clips. But then the narrator takes an unexpected turn and refutes the Argentinian icon. Instead of spending his time trying to emulate and idolizing, this young player wants “to see what the world thinks of me and what I can create.” The spot ends with Messi himself admiring an Instagram video of the new kid’s moves.
Okay, so it’s not exactly the opposite of sports ad hero worship, more like a cheeky bit of super-transparent reverse psychology.