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Why Adidas went against the grain for Brazil 2014

FITCH ads for Adidas

FITCH was determined their campaign would stand out in a crowded landscape

For Adidas' campaign around this year's soccer World Cup, global design consultancy FITCH (opens in new tab) were tasked with masterminding the branding and art directing the photography for retail, outdoor and online. And they decided to do something a little different.

Rather than incorporating the riot of colour you'd expect from a Brazil-related campaign, they went against the grain and designed visuals that were defiantly monochrome.

The idea was simple one: use black and white to make Adidas stand out in a world of colour at Brazil World Cup.

Career changer

FITCH ads for Adidas

The Adidas campaign was a big deal for FITCH

"This would be the biggest thing we'd done in our collective careers," says Phil Heys, design director at FITCH. "We had to create something exceptional."

Inspiration came from the guiding principle of the campaign – 'all in or nothing'. "It's the only way to win a World Cup," he says, "and it gave us at FITCH the license to be brave and singular.

"Brands and retailers did the expected and zigged towards bright carnival campaigns for the World Cup in Brazil. FITCH zagged. It was black and white, all in or nothing for the Adidas World Cup identity."

Wild designs

FITCH ads for Adidas

The players faces represent the theme of controlled aggression

Adidas also asked FITCH to design the wild-at-heart visuals to align with new 'battle pack' boot range. "The boot range was inspired by graphics from predatory animals," Heys explains. "In a striking series of photographs that FITCH art-directed, we translated these images onto the faces of the players.

"The patterns on their faces represent the transformational power of these boots, and our key theme; controlled aggression. Once the players put those boots on, they had the key to succeeding in the World Cup."

FITCH ads for Adidas

FITCH ads for Adidas

FITCH ads for Adidas

FITCH ads for Adidas

FITCH ads for Adidas

Which World Cup ad campaign resonated with you? Share your views in the comments!

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.