Casey H. Moore

The Takeover: Adidas and Being the Difference

With recent studies showing that Under Armour has overtaken Adidas as no. 2 in the American sportswear market it only made sense that the German brand go on the offensive. Not to long ago they announced they would be revamping their soccer boot offerings and going through a mini-revolution, hence the new “Be The Difference”(BTD) campaign. The BTD campaign has since seen Adidas tour around the world to get more in touch with major soccer communities with trendy parties and player appearances.

To make the most of this they turned they head towards the extremely popular International Champions Cup (ICC). Adidas looked at the teams and players they had access to and mapped out their BTD tour accordingly. By piggybacking on a popular friendly tournament they can use their outlets of social amplification by providing tastemaker and experiential marketing. For this small case study we will look at the ways they tapped into the community while the ICC happened.

From Hong Kong to Harlem the BTD tour has touched down and been effective with community outreach as well as reaching out to local tastemakers and influencers. Chelsea just happened to be in town for their first North American match against the Red Bulls. In Harlem Adidas brought in Chelsea to team up with Harlem FC, a local soccer club for children in the community. The three groups have come together to help build a $3 million dollar indoor soccer facility for youth soccer in the area to be completed in a year’s time.

Christian Purslow, Managing Director, Chelsea FC, Hideto Katsuragawa, President of Tyre Company, Yokohama Rubber Company, Eden Hazard Chelsea FC player, Nubia Murray Senior Associate Sports Marketing, Chase, Irvine Smalls, President, FC Harlem, Bruce Buck, Chairman, Chelsea FC, Claus Peter Mayer, Vice President, Global Sports Marketing, Football, adidas, Frank Jahangir, Head of Sales UK, Delta Airlines, Carlo Cudicini, ex-Chelsea FC player and now Chelsea FC ambassador  during the FC Harlem Blue Pitch Announcement on 21st July 2015 at the FC Harlem Training Ground in Harlem, New York, USA.

After this little jaunt around the Big Apple they flew over to the city of angels, Los Angeles, where the L.A. Galaxy would take on Barcelona in the ICC. This game at the Rose Bowl saw 91,000 people pack in to cheer for the two sides. Adidas hopped onto this opportunity by holding an event of their own with the likes of freshly arrived Steven Gerrard showing off the new Ace and X boots. A mixture of fans and tastemakers arrived to a rave-like surrounding with millennial sweetheart music guests such as YG, Baauer, and The Gaslamp Killer. They went in hard to identify with the millennial crowd and planned their attack just a week before Stevie G would line up across from his old teammate, and Adidas star, Luiz Suarez.


These days, it may be as important to have rich physical engagement at an event as it is to have rich digital engagement to spread ROI and effectively scale your reach.  Looking at Adidas’ #BeTheDifference over the past week, there have been 15 million online impressions between Twitter and Instagram according to They took what they knew better than most: Music, soccer, and lifestyle to create the perfect recipe to attract millennials all over the world. By using this approach with the soccer world they have had added coverage from everyone such as 8 by 8 magazine, Slam Magazine, and HipHop Wired. By planning behind what the ICC has created they hyped the hype. By using what they have at their fingertips Adidas garnered attention and borrowed the spotlight of one of the largest preseason soccer tournaments in the world.


Categories: Event Seeker, Experiential, Soccer Marketing