To coincide with the kick off of Euro 2012, UEFA global partner adidas launches a new fan portal on photo blogging site Tumblr.
The initiative will see adidas use Tumblr’ sponsorship packages to showcase unique content from the world of football, on and off the pitch. The adidas-backed official Tumblr football profile is not only part of the sportswear giant’s tournament activation, but will form part of its ongoing football marketing mix.
At the centre of the initiative is brand-created content from adidas feature brand-backed fans and players to provide visitors with an inspirational look inside the world of adidas and its involvement in football.
To mark the launch, the German-based sportswear giant teamed up with motion graphics editor Thiago Maia to create a launch video that gives viewers a taste of what to expect from the blog site. This film features leading footballers from the past and the present, including Leo Messi, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Franz Beckenbauer, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham.
Thus far it has notched up 50,000-plus YouTube views.
Another key feature sees adidas send its very own football blogger, Laurence McKenna (from EPL Talk), to Poland to cover the Euro 2012 tournament and his work, comments and daily podcasts will feature on the Tumbrl. McKenna is accompanied by Hypebeast photographer Ravi Sidhu who will aim to capture images which will tell the story of the Euros through the eyes of fans.
Alongside this new Euro-led content, the page will celebrate the brand’s football heritage.
This will see it use the channel to showcase the successes enjoyed by various adidas teams and players over the years, including defending champions Spain as they head into UEFA EURO 2012 to defend the title they won in 2008.
The new Tumblr page will also aim to be home to a more product-promotion led range of photography of adidas products, as well as specially commissioned artwork that demonstrates the products and the technology behind them in a new light.
Adidas is also taking part in a new Tumblr pilot project trialling the social media outfit’s latest advertising model. This will see adidas posts feature in the Tumblr central dashboard’s ‘Radar’ section and these will continue to be highlighted throughout UEFA Euro 2012.
Adidas hopes that the social network will play a key part in its future social media strategy. Indeed, once Euro 2012 is finished, adidas will continue to use the Tumblr site to host football content from other properties it has rights with such as UEFA Champions League and the US football league MLS.
Adidas global brand marketing director Tom Ramsden believes the initiative is a significant part of the brand’s efforts to engage with teenagers by using platforms beyond the typical football communications channels.
‘The partnership with Tumblr around UEFA Euro 2012 represents an exciting move for adidas Football as we start to communicate with fans in a new way, beyond typical football communications channels,’ explains Ramsden. ‘We will use Tumblr to share unique content with fans; combining material from our vast footballing archive with fresh, new content produced in real time by a lineup of exciting, up and coming producers.’
Tumblr VP of Product Derek Gottfrid says the deal shows that when a brand shares great creative content on Tumblr, our community is happy to follow along and amplify the messaging via reblog.
‘We’re absolutely thrilled that adidas is doing such world-class creative storytelling on Tumblr. adidas is building a rich and engaging site with spectacular visuals to express their truly deep passion for football,’ says Gottfrid.
‘The live event coverage they have planned for UEFA Euro 2012 will be totally captivating to the international community of football fans. When a brand shares great creative content on Tumblr, our community is happy to follow along and amplify the messaging via reblog. This is the type of innovative marketing effort that we’re proud to be at the heart of, and we can’t wait to show it off in the Tumblr Radar and the Tumblr Spotlight.’
It certainly seems to make sense for adidas to connect its Euro 2012 work with its wider ongoing football portfolio.
Especially this year when some might argue that its Euro 2012 football sponsorship is competing for headspace with its London 2012 Olympic work. This approach enables its Euro’s work to be part of a bigger, ongoing football communication project.
Indeed, most Euro 2012 brands (including McDonald’s, Calsberg and Castrol) have ramped up their social media activation in early June.
The adidas move also coincided with an adidas targeted protest campaign from action group War On Want. Demonstrating once again how it important it is for big event sponsors to include flexible responses to adverse events into their planning.
A video (mimicking the approach of charity ads targeting poverty and abuse) and store-based campaign aims to pressure the Euro and Olympic sponsor into tackling alleged sweatshop conditions, low wages, excessive hours and poor working environments in some of its supplier factories.
Both the online film and the ‘tags’ which protestors will aim to clip to adidas products in stores aim to direct viewers/shoppers to the ‘Not OK Anywhere’ protest campaign website at www.waronwant.org/olympics-home where people are encouraged to email adidas chief executive.
Adidas responded to the allegations and the campaign with the following statement.
“The adidas Group is fully committed to protecting worker rights and to ensuring fair and safe working conditions in factories throughout our global supply chain.
“As part of that commitment, we have been engaging in an open and constructive dialogue with various NGOs for years.
“To that end, we recently contacted War on Want on two separate occasions to discuss the allegations made in their last report but we are still yet to hear back from them.
“However, we take all allegations about working conditions extremely seriously and will investigate any new claims immediately.
“But it is very important to note that we found no evidence to support claims made in a previous War on Want report about factory conditions in Bangladesh.
“In fact, the report contained several inaccuracies, including the suggestion that adidas manufactures 2012 Olympic products in Bangladesh, which we absolutely do not.
“We also requested the details of the workers they had highlighted in the report but these have not been provided.
“We are the only London Olympic licensee to fully disclose our production locations and we are confident that we are adhering to and, in fact, exceeding the high standards which the organising committee has set for this, the first sustainable Olympic Games.”