Adidas’ French 2010 World Cup ‘Coach Crush’ PR Stunt

In France Adidas launched the central strand of its Brazil 2014 World Cup activation with a PR stunt that saw the FIFA partner and former French team sponsor crush France’s infamous team bus that symbolised the disaster of the country’s 2010 tournament.


Les Bleus South African tournament nightmare saw Raymond Domenech’s side exit in the group stages after a string of poor performances and a player revolt at their base in Knysna that saw France’s soccer stars storm off the pitch during a training session and board the team bus in a form of protest player strike.


The protest was a reaction to Nicolas Anelka being sent home after arguing with the manager during the half time break of the team’s two nil defeat to Mexico and the aim behind the coach crushing stunt was to vanquish all memories of that last disastrous World Cup campaign.


One which brought an end to Domenech’s managerial reign and saw captain Patrice Evra banned for five matches for his own role in the revolt.


A giant articulated crushing arm completely shredded the bus – which carried the slogan ‘Team France World 2010’.



Adidas tactic was to invite 400-plus members of the French national and sports press to the event as a symbol of the team’s renewed dedication to the 2014 tournament and to promote the launch of the brand’s global World Cup campaign ‘All In Or Nothing’ (see case study).


‘The Knysna bus is a strong ball that prevents the team from France to calmly deal with the World Cup in Brazil symbol. This is why we decided to destroy it,’ explains Adidas France director William of Monplanet.




It didn’t seem to matter much to the assembled journalists that adidas was actually squishing a replica bus.


Nor that Adidas is no longer the backer of the French national side.


Adidas was the supplier of Les Blues up until the 2010 World Cup, but the French team has since signed up with rival Nike until 2018 in a partnership reported to be worth €42million per year.


Thus the stunt turned the typical World Cup relationship between the two brands on its head – with Nike being the incumbent official partner and adidas this time playing the role of ambusher.


The German giant’s guerrilla work not only promoted its own World Cup campaign launch, but also acted as a spoiler to Nike’s March launch campaign for its French World Cup kit.


See http://nikeinc.com/news/french-football-federation-unveils-new-nike-away-kit-for-2014




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