180 Relives Every Kid’s Soccer Dreams

NEW YORK Adidas brings fantasy soccer to life in a new campaign from independent 180 Amsterdam, in which two Spanish-speaking boys assemble teams of their all-time favorite players for a pick-up game in an empty lot.

In the first 60-second spot, “Equipo,” the boys square off alone in the dusty field and begin picking teams. Instead of local neighborhood boys or schoolmates, however, they call out their favorite players, including Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben and Juan Roman Riquelme, as well as former heroes such as Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini, who were composited into the spots.

In the second ad, “Partido,” the two all-star teams play a dazzling match with the two boys as their captains, who call all the plays while keeping up with the legends. The game ends when the first boy’s mother calls him inside, at which point he picks up his ball and leaves the field. Both spots were shot in Barcelona, Spain, over two weeks and directed by Ivan Zacharias.

The ads, which break today during the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, build simultaneously on the brand’s “Impossible is nothing” tag and 180’s “+10” campaign, which celebrates teamwork over individual stardom. (There are 11 players on a soccer team.)

“All the sports brands talk about individualism and hero worship,” said 180 co-executive creative director Andy Fackrell. The “+10” campaign celebrates team effort in the spirit of Greece’s 2004 World Cup victory, where a squad without a marquee player worked together to win.

In February, Adidas broke a series of six two-minute “recruitment” films on MTV that showed star players walking the streets of their cities looking for everyday Joes for a pick-up match. Those teams then squared off in games that were broadcast online, Fackrell said.

“There we were going after the real football heads,” said Fackrell. “This is sort of a warmer, broader feel so it will run globally,” in every country where soccer is broadcast.

The spots are part of Adidas’ lead-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, an effort that also includes cinema, print, outdoor, point-of-sale, public relations and online advertising.

“The Adidas commercials . . . are based on our own childhood memory,” said Fackrell, “After watching a football game, we used to run outside, re-create our own teams and replay the match we had just seen. We tried to make every little kid’s dream come alive—getting to pick your own team and being able to choose from the world’s biggest football stars.”