The adidas Predator was the boot everyone wanted on the playground.
Those grippy bits could help anyone bend it like Beckham, or so it seemed.
The classic black and red colour combo made them the boot of the most cultured players around.
Whilst Ronaldo (the original, larger one) wore his famous silver Nike R9s depicting pace and power, the Predator was the boot for pinpoint passing and curling freekicks.
However, the Predator lost its way, adopting questionable colour combos before being discontinued in 2013, timed with the retirement of Beckham, the Predator’s most famous player.
A triumphant return in 2017 saw the boot relaunched.
And with it, some of the game’s more cultured players once again taking to the field in adidas’ most iconic boot of recent times such as Dele Alli and Mesut Ozil.
The Predator is so much more than those top-level players though - it’s also the boot for the pub league footballer or the 5-a-side-after-work-footballer inspired by Predator’s past.
The Big Idea
Anyone who’s tried to organise a five-a-side match knows that flakiness is the biggest hurdle to overcome.
Excuses are plentiful, from claims of a “bit of a niggle in my hamstring” to “forgot my kit, sorry mate”.
With that in mind, adidas positioned themselves as the saviour with its new campaign, Rent-A-Pred.
Down a player?
Then WhatsApp the Rent-A-Pred hotline and adidas will dispatch a substitute player with a difference.
What They Did
This campaign shows what adidas does best.
The delivery and talent takes this from a simple PR hotline story to something funny and shareable. It’s a campaign only them or Nike could possibly deliver with this level of quality.
Those trying out the service had a range of high profile influencers and players head down to their London kickabouts. The F2 were first up, followed by England’s 6-a-side captain Helge Orome and other football influencers such as @street_panna.
Then comes the star power in the form of Kaka, returning to the pitch a million miles from the San Siro by turning out for Reach Out FC for a match in Haggerston.
No doubt manufactured somewhat given both teams turned out in full adidas kit, but delivering the goods when it came to content.
Kaka was not only nutmegged by an opposition player but also had a team mate demand a pass before smashing it into the top corner. Both instances led to meme level engagement across social media.
As someone who organised a five-a-side team for a one-off tournament from a company of over 100 people, I relate to the insight that led to this campaign.
We see a lot of campaigns from the world’s biggest sports brands that look to relate to the grassroots game, but for me this campaign goes further than others.
As I mentioned there’s a bit of engineering, mostly around Kaka’s appearance, but it feels accessible and real.
The use of WhatsApp as the channel to request a player helped the campaign come across as a genuine opportunity for the city’s grassroots footballers.
This stands out even more to me for being a PR campaign for an advert. They’ve embraced the key message from the ATL campaign – “100% unfair” – and communicated it in as simple and relatable a way as possible.
The use of content is clever too.
The initial video introducing the campaign is well-produced, captures the essence of the urban football scene and delivers it with humour, but it’s the match content that really makes it.
Whilst photographers captured the rented players in situ, video content was purely captured from the side-lines, seemingly by spectators rather than professionally.
This not only saves costs it also delivers grassroots moments of magic in the way we expect to see them – unedited and packed with the emotions of the moment as the camera flails and the crowd reaction is heard.
I only wish this had been a thing during the PR Cup 2019, we could have done with the help…