Pogba’s ‘Red Limited #Never Follow’ Convention Busting Film Extends Adidas’ Sport Needs Creators Strategy

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Late November sees Adidas launch a new ‘Stadium to Street’ campaign, fronted by Paul Pogba, which urges young footballers to create their own path (and promotes its new Red Limit Collection).


Continuing the sportswear giant’s ongoing ‘Never Follow’ big idea, the campaign launched with a new film on 22 November which, despite starring the France and Manchester United midfielder and focusing on his off-field swagger to on-field flair, actually entreats youngsters not to emulate their heroes but rather carve out their own creative approach.


The campaign’s core commercial features supercars, quickfire graphics and pounding music and initially sees Pogba admonish an unseen young viewer/fan with the line ‘You’ll never play like me. You’ll never wear this shirt or dance like me You ain’t never be me’, before the fired up, invisible voice (of the young player) answers back ‘I don’t want to be anything like you, play like you or dance like that. I don’t want to wear your name on my back or see your numbers on my phone. Let me be clear – I don’t want to be you. I just want your boots.’



The campaign message is simple: young aspiring players are discouraged from mimicking the style of stars like Pogba and are only incentivised to buy their boots as tools to create for themselves.


The TVC, directed by Adam Smith through RSA Films, is also being amplified socially



and continues across Adidas Football’s digital and social channels with further creative executions and assets supporting the central film based around the invisible young creator ‘reeking havoc’ and ‘digitally disrupting Pogba’s world’ by rejecting the idea of mimicking him – including pieces on Twitter



and Facebook



plus further supporting assets such as social image filters.


Most content pieces in this campaign, which has been developed by agency Irish Worldwide, carry the tagline ‘He’s Paul Pogba. You be you’ and the hashtag #NeverFollow


The campaign advertises the Red Limited Collection: including Boost cushioning, Ace 17+ Purecontrol and new street adaptations and is available in the brand’s Stadium, Cage and Street version


The official range launch is on 22 November, while the Red Limit Collection initially took to the professional pitch on 24 November when Pogba wore a personalised pair of Red Limit Ace 17+ Purecontrol against Feyenoord.



‘The Red Limit collection is the first time we’ve gone from the stadium to the street in the same collection. We’ve introduced a range of boots in on-pitch, cage and street silos so you can perform as well off the pitch as you can on it,’ outlines Dean Lokes, Vice President of product Adidas Football.


‘The introduction of adidas’ leading BOOST technology highlights our constant desire to innovate within the sport and our endless drive to produce game-changing footwear for all types off footballers; wherever they play the game.’


The brand’s PR work around the campaign says that ‘further films and a diverse 2D campaign will follow in a three month rollout and will feature Pogba alongside other Adidas soccer endorsers such as Mesut Özil, the S3 Freestylers, Leo Messi and Luis Suarez.




There is an element of self mocking in this campaign as Adidas plays heavily on Pogba’s extrovert personality before the narrative twist which sees fans focus on themselves rather than superstars like Pogba.


But while this edgy and admittedly cool campaign aims to discourage the usual lionisation of famous footballers and instead encouraging the viewer to create their own style of play, it is also, well, lionising famous (Adidas ambassador) footballers too of course.


For a campaign that sets itself up as breaking conventions, one can’t help but wonder whether it might just lead some to question the campaign’s (and the brand’s) sense of authenticity.


This latest work builds on Adidas’ focus around working with young athletes who use their creativity in and around sport to make interesting content and is part of its ongoing #NeverFollow ‘Sport Needs Creators drive.


This initiative continues Adidas’ ongoing ‘First Never Follows’ work (see case study) and its rapidly ramped-up partnership with Pogba (see previous case studies 1, 2 and 3).




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