Adidas takes the pressure out of sports in Super Bowl campaign

Adidas has launched a global campaign tied to Super Bowl week that reminds young athletes to have fun with sports despite the pressure that accompanies playing them.

The 90-second hero spot opens with a series of young players facing stressful challenges in their respective sports before athletes including Patrick Mahomes, Trinity Rodman, Lionel Messi, Linda Caicedo, Rohit Sharma and Jude Bellingham show how fun those challenges can be with the right mindset.

Set to David Bowie and Queen’s Under Pressure, the film encourages young athletes to not take the games they play too seriously. 

To illustrate how the pros do it, Adidas partnered with sport neuroscience organization Neuro11 to capture the athletes’ brain readings and offer sport-specific takeaways. For example, it recommends basketball players clear their minds before a free throw and not linger on mistakes. If they miss a shot, they should focus on defense instead of dwelling.

“Pressure from social media and in sports is there right now…what it’s mostly doing is removing some of the joy of sports for kids,” said Chris Murphy, SVP of brand communications at Adidas. “We happen to have some pretty incredible athletes on our roster right now who seem to be very good at looking at that pressure and finding ways to come through it in a way that looks very enjoyable.”

Murphy highlighted Mahomes, who is perhaps under more pressure than any other athlete right now as he prepares to compete on Sunday.

Mahomes is also the star of Adidas’ Las Vegas Sphere ad, which is running throughout Super Bowl week and during the game.

These brands are running Sphere ads throughout Super Bowl week

The 45-second ad will run twice every hour.

“We’re using real people, so instead of doing everything with CGI or in post-production, we actually had to shoot for that,” Murphy said.

The campaign will also appear on broadcast and streaming platforms throughout the week, but not during the Super Bowl. An ad starring Messi will run on Apple TV, and one featuring Haley Van Lith will run during March Madness. Other out of home will appear in major cities across the country.

Adidas will run the 90-second film globally through late February before switching to a 30-second version featuring Mahomes, Messi, Rodman and Anthony Edwards, which will run through early April.

The sportswear brand is also partnering with ESPN to promote the campaign through its creator network.

Murphy declined to disclose financial details for the campaign or specific impressions it hopes to hit. He stated that when measuring impressions, Adidas will look at demographics, frequency and view-through rates.

The campaign will run at least seven figures, as Sphere ads alone cost up to $2 million for Super Bowl week.

Murphy stated that while he expects the Sphere ad to get a lot of visibility from people traveling to Vegas, he expects most attention to come from social media.

Estimated daily impressions for the Sphere during Super Bowl week haven’t been revealed yet. Typically, brands are estimated to reach 300,000 in-person impressions and another 4.4 million on social media, according to a pitch deck that leaked in October.

“If you think about the people who go to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, it’s typically influential people who likely have a lot of social media following,” Murphy said. “I looked at that and evaluated the cost of the rest of our media plan…the return on investment can be very high.”

Adidas worked with EssenseMediacom on media, TBWA on creative, We Are Social on social media and the Sphere’s creative team.


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