Whilst we’re a sucker for a good viral video, floozies for great TV spots and even staunch admirers of a ruddy lovely picture or two to share on our Google+ page, nothing quite hits the spot like a crazy marketing stunt for some otherwise humble football equipment.
The melding of real-life situations and places with the unexpected appearance of something related to our favourite sport really shows that a brand have put all their chips on the table for a new product and really splashed the cash.
Here’s a few of our favourite instances.
5. Nike’s Mercurial Vapor 9 Flashmobs
Masters of creating imagery and ads that really embody what they want consumers to feel when using their products, Nike’s ‘Vapor Trail’ ad for the Mercurial Vapor IX was – despite being one of their less iconic – certainly one of the most creative we’ve ever seen.
The print and viral ads portrayed Cristiano Ronaldo leaving a trail of destruction behind him as the sheer speed of his Mercurial Vapors decimated stadiums and the opposition alike in their slipstream.
Nike brought that vision to life with flashmobs to engage the lucrative Asian market – and where better to do it than Gangnam, the district of Seoul that had suddenly become a household name worldwide thanks to an unlikely pop sensation.
4. Love = Football, courtesy of Puma.
Relative newcomers to ‘guerrilla marketing’, Puma found their feet in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup.
Having spent a number of years tying in African federations into technical supplier deals and signing individual sponsorships with some of the continent’s brightest stars, Puma were determined to have their share of the spotlight at the first African World Cup.
During key games, Puma took to spreading their ‘Love = Football’ message to the masses, with huge signs, skywriting and – our favourite – a convoy of trucks.
Visible to anything in the air above Johannesburg, the message was circulated internationally by a number of completely authentic, totally not staged tourist videos.
3. adidas’ Giant Boots…
Wanting to put their stamp the host nations of Austria and Switzerland in Euro 2008, official technical partners adidas took to the road with a vehicle transport loaded up with car-sized F50.8 and took a little road trip!
With each boot representing a competing nation, adidas loaded up two huge trucks and took to the streets of both countries, before finding the boots a home in the capital city centres.
adidas also created larger-than-life versions of their sponsored athletes to dominate cityscapes in any town with a hosting arena.
2. …and Nike’s Massive Balls
One of our favourite subversive campaigns, Nike took adidas’ idea and invaded it by placing appropriately-scaled footballs across host cities.
And whilst adidas creating a ferris wheel out of Petr Cech captured people’s attention to a certain degree, there was no escaping the havoc that Nike reigned with their huge replica footballs.
Cars and buildings were sacrificed in the name of great guerilla advertising, as Nike hijacked the areas around the stadium with staged scenes of destruction.
1. Vertical Football Comes to Tokyo
Sure, smashing a scrap car is pretty fun, but that’s nothing compared to putting actual human lives on the line. Or at least, a line.
Which is exactly what adidas did in the mid-2000’s as they brought ‘Vertical Football’ to Japan. In line with their ‘Impossible is Nothing’ strapline, adidas created a huge spectacle as a game of one-on-one took place 10 storeys up the side of a skyscraper in downtown Tokyo.
As you’ll see from the video, not only was this a hit with spectators, but news outlets around the globe covered what was essentially a very clever billboard – and that’s the sort of exposure that brands dream of.
Those are our top 5, but what are your favourites?
Drop us a line and let us know, either in the comments or on Twitter!