Clients: Mark Philips and Barry Moore, Adidas
Brief: Bring the +10 concept to life and reassert football credentials
in run-up to World Cup
Target audience: Older teenagers
Creative: 180 Amsterdam, Drum Screen
Content creation: Drum Screen
PR: Hill & Knowlton
The brief was to position Adidas as the football brand to a youth audience ahead of the 2006 Fifa World Cup. Adidas stars, including David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, will be part of the England team. But for Adidas, it is not just about individuals, it is about teamwork - expressed in the "+10"concept.
Campaigns for major sports brands have been dominated by superstar-led TV ads. Research showed Adidas' target audience of 17-year-olds love TV but are engaging less with TV ads. PHD and Drum Screen decided to create content for programmes as well as ad breaks. Moreover, PHD wanted to introduce and amplify the notion of "+10" to the target market in advance of the spot campaign arriving.
A PHD strategy was devised that allowed Adidas' communication to begin early in 2006, stealing a march on the World Cup clutter, with the TV commercial airing last of all, as the build-up to the tournament peaks in June.
- Event: The strategy hinged on creating the Mourinho +10 event, a highly PR-able event where Adidas' global football superstars coached teams of ten, made up of celebrities, sport stars and lucky punters, to compete against each other in a series of football-related teamwork games.
- Media: partners PHD brought on board key media partners and PR to create a media event - from mass media, such as The Sun, to more focused youth brands such as FHM, Radio 1 and Channel 4. The media partners received exclusive access to players and the event, as well as offering the chance to win a place on the teams.
- TV: Drum Screen created a seven-part series, Mourinho's Ultimate +10 Team, presented by Vernon Kay, which ran across T4 and E4. For the first time, T4 located a weekend's-worth of programme links from an advertiser-created event, rebranded as "T4 on the Pitch". MTV also contributed its own programming, fronted by the DJ Trevor Nelson.
- Online/mobile: A key component of the campaign in terms of allowing an extended dialogue with the target audience. A sophisticated desktop application allowed people to register for the chance to take part in the +10 event, as well as download a live-action desktop player of their choice.
As the campaign progressed, it used online as a second-wave platform to distribute video content. All of the shows were streamed on channel4.com and further content has been made available for internet (iTunes) and mobile distribution.
- In-store: A partnership with JD Sports promoted the chance for customers to play on their football hero's team.
The Channel 4 programming delivered a 28 per cent share of 16- to 24-year-old viewing, pushing T4's audience through the one million barrier. It received extensive repeats across E4/T4 thanks to its ratings success. Moreover, there has been international demand for the programming, which has been sold to a number of territories.
Downloads and streaming showed equally strong demand from users for this content.
Total exposure was worth £50 million in media value. Much of the media exposure arrived as brand-generated editorial, not conventional advertising.
It is too early for retail results. However, as the main TV campaign breaks along with mega-site posters, Adidas has used the scale of the +10 event to secure distribution of an exclusive +10 clothing range in JD Sports.
THE VERDICT - Russell Place chief strategy officer, Universal McCann London
Adidas has a heritage in contributing to "team", especially in the face of superior individual opposition. Allegedly, it started in 1954, when on a rainy day in the World Cup final, the company's boots were the difference between the German side and Hungary's flair. More recently, Greece triumphed against the odds in Euro 2004.
In a world increasingly dominated by the circus of celebrity, +10 seems a natural celebration of team ethos over individual talent. With this core concept in mind, the brief was rolled out to each market to maximise its impact. Of course, gaining competitive communications advantage around the feeding frenzy of the World Cup is difficult. On the one hand, brands need to differentiate themselves through their communications, and on the other, to ensure how they talk to youth/fans is deemed worthy. Finally, it goes without saying it has to be entertaining.
Certainly, the approach presented by PHD, Drum Screen and partners is entertaining and it does engage the target in an appealing way. Starting this activity early in a clear space and building brand momentum right up to the World Cup is a smart move. Inviting the ordinary fan to participate provides tangible fan-based access. The primary use of content to amplify the spirit of +10 and the partner selection makes sense.
However, whether Adidas differentiates itself sufficiently through use of communication begs some questions. First, with the concept of "team" in mind, do all the selected channels act together as coherently as possible?
Budgets allowing, more attention could have been paid to seeding.
A bigger event could have been created at a football ground to open the +10 experience. Finally, with wider participation, a fan-to-fan advocate strategy could have been used to provide longevity and grass-roots interaction with Adidas. Digital could have been more prominent. It has the potential to play a more dynamic role within the communications framework - the dissemination and interaction provided isn't particularly innovative.
Despite these misgivings, it is a good expression of +10 and there is no doubt about the additional PR value it created for Adidas in the UK.
SCORE: 3 out of 5.