Adidas’s key 16-24 demographic play football with a passion but don’t engage with traditional channels. Attending Premier League matches is irrelevant to many of them, as is conventional advertising. So when you’re a brand like adidas looking to launch a new football boot, how do you reach them? Our task was to find a way.
When you’re a young aspiring footballer, you want to be like Messi or Suarez, so you buy their boots. But as you get older footballing idols mean less. Instead, you turn to your mates, your tribe, for the right way to fit in.
So we created the adidas TANGO League. A street football tournament whose innovation lay in the approach to recruiting players and growing reach. Given that our players rejected above the line media, we turned to ‘dark social’ where we tapped into local urban football communities, with our teams selected via WhatsApp invitations. We entered our players’ world, by encouraging our hand-picked captains to write, post and share on behalf of adidas across their social channels during the tournament.
In its first year the TANGO League reached more than 6.1 million users and has gone on to become a gold-standard example of dark social engagement (as named by Contagious Magazine.)