Adidas maps its biggest football campaign ever for World Cup

 MUMBAI: With the upcoming World Cup, partners of football's governing body Fifa are getting busy with their plans to leverage the event both globally and in India.

In fact, a few of them initiated activities a few months ago to gradually build up the momentum with new products and grassroots initiatives. A case in point is Adidas.


Explaining to the role that the Fifa World Cup and football plays as a brand building exercise, Adidas India MD Andreas Gellner says, "Football is our passion and Adidas is the only authentic and innovative football brand. We understand the game and the psyche of the players out there better than anybody else".


The +10 campaign:"The 2006 Fifa World Cup promises to capture the attention of the entire world, a cumulative total of over 38 billion viewers are expected to watch the World Cup during June and July, and they will be seeing Adidas everywhere with the +10 campaign: "In India, we have undertaken several initiatives to promote the World Cup. It all started with the global + 10 marketing campaign that was launched in November last year. The campaign celebrates 'team spirit' and features some of the world's most celebrated football stars such as Michael Ballack, David Beckham, Raúl Gonzales, Kaká, Alessandro Nesta, Juan Román Riquelme and Zinédine Zidane," informs Gellner.

Says Gellner, "+10 is the biggest football marketing campaign in the history of Adidas."

Grass Roots Initiatives: Going forward, Adidas plans to take the + 10 campaign on ground in India with the Adidas + Challenge initiative.

ESPN Star Sports, which will air the World Cup in India, has partnered with Adidas for the event. This, Gellner explains is the biggest ever global football tournament at the grassroot level. Adidas+ Challenge is being rolled out across Chandigarh, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad and Delhi.

This allows young Indian football enthusiasts to celebrate the wonderful sport of football in the run up to the 2006 World Cup. Integrated in the concept of +10, the biggest football marketing campaign in the history of the brand, Adidas +Challenge aims to reflect the passion and inspiration young footballers feel around the world.

Giving details Gellner says, "As part of the fully integrated Fifa World Cup brand campaign, the concept of Adidas +Challenge has been developed to provide an inspiring football experience to young consumers. It is all about celebrating football, team spirit, and individual skill. At each global tournament venue, India being one of them, 16 participating teams per age category (13 to14 and 15 to16) show their skills to get one of the 40 places for the global Adidas + Challenge final in Berlin, Germany from 1 to 4 July 2006.”

The global grassroots programme started with a tournament in Rio de Janeiro in January and will be followed by global focus tournaments as well as local initiatives in over 30 countries. In Asia, Adidas

+Challenge will take place in 12 regions. Besides India, local events will happen in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. The captain of the French Team, Zinédine Zidane, will serve as the global ambassador for the initiative.

Multimedia campaign being planned: Adidas India is also putting the final touches on a campaign that will have several touch points. These are television, mobile, outdoors in the form of hoardings and even cinema halls.

Following the launch of the + 10 campaign, Adidas India launched Federation Jerseys and the + Predator Absolute football boot in India in December 2005. The Federation Jerseys feature Adidas technologies like ClimaCool FlowMapping and ForMotion technology. The Federation Jerseys are designed to help players deliver optimum performance on the field, as they battle it out for the Fifa World Cup.

"Zinedine Zidane (France), Patrick Vieira (France), Michael Ballack (Germany), Oliver Khan (Germany), Raul (Spain) and Riquelme (Argentina) are a few names who will be wearing their nation's respective Jersey for the 2006 Fifa World Cup. The new +Predator Absolute features a revolutionary Exchangeable PowerPulse technology, allowing players to add power to every shot" adds Gellner.

Adidas also launched the new match ball for the World Cup in December 2005. The company, Gellner notes, has been producing high-performance match balls since 1963 and claims to be the world's leading football producers. Adidas +Teamgeist is its best performing ball ever. "Thanks to a revolutionary 14-panel ball configuration, players can now show their true skills, as the quality and performance characteristics are exactly identical every time they kick the ball" says Gellner.

New Product Range: More recently, Adidas introduced the official licensed product range in India. The clothes are aimed at expressing the values of being vibrant, youthful and truly sporty. The collection offers a range of clothes and accessories to meet varying interests of football lovers.

Gellner offers the examples of The Supporter Tee range for die-hard supporters who'll be sitting up late at night cheering, the Photo Collection with graphics of the Adidas brand ambassadors Beckham, Raul, Kaka, Zidane for the fashion conscious fans and the Ticket Range has a graphic of the original world cup ticket on the apparel.

Moreover, Gellner points out that women need not feel left out in the cold, because they are the chosen ones this season with a bunch of collections being designed keeping in mind the female football fan. The Flag Spaghetti collection sports colourful spaghettis in the national colours.

When asked as to the extent Adidas India's marketing budget would increase this year on account of the World Cup, Gellner notes that globally, Adidas spends eight to nine per cent of its net sales on total marketing efforts. In a World Cup year, a very significant portion of the total spend goes into football.

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