Adidas' Striking New Soccer Manifesto Is a Surreal Visual Delight

The cleat maker wants to make you a deal

To introduce Adidas' FW19 soccer shoes, some of the game's biggest stars want to make a deal with you. And it's one you'd better not refuse, because this bunch—including Leo Messi, Mesut Ozil, Paul Pogba and Vivianne Miedema—won't take "no" for an answer.

Dramatically lighted in blues and reds while speaking straight into the camera, the players do some mighty tough talking in the anthem film below.

"You want these boots?" the stars begin, "OK, pay attention. Things are different now. They come with some conditions. Forget everything you know. Unlearn it. If you want these boots, you have the responsibility to play irresponsibly. If you want these boots, own your present and create your future."

Visions of skeletons, diamonds, kaleidoscopic insects and crystal leopards, brought to life through stop-motion techniques by Blink Ink, punctuate the pitch, which concludes: 

"If you want these boots, you will create controversy, havoc, madness, pride, records, losers, history, silence. This is the way we play the game. And these boots are for creators only. So if you still want them, it's simple. Agree to these conditions. Take the deal. Dare to create." 

Though directed with considerable intensity by Nicos Livesey, the message from Iris London isn't entirely straight-faced. Perhaps the footballers really would like to lead a revolution, or spark creative play. Their grandiose sentiments go over the top, but a tongue-in-cheek vibe prevails. 

Besides, if the 14- to 21-year-old male target audience actually accepts the campaign's exhortation to "play irresponsibly," they'll be drawing red cards all day long. 

Contrast this approach with another recent soccer-kicks intro, from Puma, which fused music and sports by presenting playlists and stylized "album covers."

That work feels more culturally savvy than "The Deal" from Adidas. But the latter has one significant advantage—those visuals. In fact, the color palette, quick cuts and effects are so riveting, it almost doesn't matter what the stars are talking about. 

At any rate, it's a memorable game plan that diverges from most sports-gear advertising. So, kudos to the campaign's creators on that score. Good deal!

Launched this week throughout Europe, APAC and the Americas, the push also features audio content on Spotify, out-of-home elements and 21 individual player films, in languages from the athletes' countries of origin, a few of which we've posted below:

CREDITS 

Creativity Agency, 2D Production - Iris
Senior Creatives - Matt Wood & Tom Loveless
Creative Director - Rachid Ahouiyek
Planning Director - Ben Milligan
Senior Account Director - Simone Botherway
Executive Producer - Michael Hanney
Junior Producer - Hetty Yoxall
Designer - Will Timney
Artworker - Tom Park
Retouch - Cat Wood
Production Company – Blink Ink
Director – Nicos Livesy
Producer – Alex Halley
Editor – Will Walsh @ BURNING FLAG
Audio - Grand Central Studios
Audio engineers – George Castle & Aaron Taffel
Audio producer – Sarah King
Music – George Castle
Colorists – Duncan Russell & Holly Greig @ Freefolk

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.