As the FIFA World Cup 2018 kicked off at Luzhniki Stadium, Adidas sought to create one of its biggest live experiences in a bespoke venue in London's Shoreditch to follow its World Cup "Creativity is the answer" campaign.
Taking place on the opening weekend of the tournament, the concept was simple, explains Barry Moore, director of brand marketing for Adidas UK. "'Creativity is the answer' is this year’s World Cup campaign for Adidas, so this activation had to tie in with that. We wanted to give London’s young football-obsessed audience the chance to share their creativity with us.
We wanted to acknowledge that through football they are not just players, they are doers, makers, gamers, creators, collaborators. We wanted to engage with them across the game, life and the world.
And hundreds of the brand’s fans showed up at Creator Base over the first five days of the World Cup to do exactly that. The space featured a fully installed football pitch, a live music space, a creator workshop, a live radio broadcast space hosted by Reprezent Radio and, crucially, a World Cup screening room and EA Sports FIFA lounge.
The worlds of football and culture met within Creator Base through a series of workshop sessions. These enabled visitors to create customised shirts, football cage designs and mini-footwear plus design a future Adidas Glitch boot to be put into production. Viewing highlights included the Tango Squad and Tango League in a hotly contested final tournament, with Stormzy commentating, plus a programme of live performances across the five days.
The campaign also wanted to focus on creators around the world using their skills to solve city challenges. In London, this included a celebration of This Fan Girl, a community dedicated to bringing female football fans together, plus a showcase of London innovators creating sustainable products. The Adidas Parley range, its collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, an environmental organisation that addresses threats to the oceans from plastic pollution, was also on display.
The brand has a strong history of experiential campaigns, dating back to 2010 when Adidas brought Lionel Messi to London’s Hackney Marshes, fresh from his Champions League victory for Barcelona. Moore believes the live connection is more important than ever. "We want to be known as the football brand – and brand overall – that opens its doors and lets fans in, giving them audience opportunities that no other brand is giving, such as getting them in to design studios to create their own content," he says. The Marketing Store and The Midnight Club worked alongside the brand team to handle the activation and event management, in addition to the existing roster of Adidas agencies for the wider campaign.
Adidas has more than earned its stripes this year in delivering experiences across the globe, from the World Cup Studio in Los Angeles and Moscow to Run for the Oceans in London and the Originals Maker Lab. This year will see a further activation around a key football moment in August/September. However, there is another, bigger goal on the horizon as plans are already under way for 2019 and an activation that promises to be on a much larger scale in terms of its structure and audience size.