Adidas Mashes-up Major League Soccer

Bay area agency EVB created an integrated campaign for Adidas’ Major League Soccer sponsorship as the teams enter the league championship series.

Interactive agency EVB created a 360-degree campaign for Adidas centered on a Web site featuring video mash-ups for each of the seated teams. Creative teams from C-TRL Labs and Eclectic Method have each mixed seven mash-ups that pair a team with a song and video from a local artist.

“We wanted to bring American soccer to light, show that it’s just as cool or cooler than European soccer or football,” EVB co-founder and Creative Director Jason Zada told ClickZ. “We paired it up with underground bands in each of the cities that there’s a playoff team, and mixed music and soccer together.”

The campaign will culminate with seven total mash-ups on MLS Mash-Ups. The videos were edited and added to the site within about 24-hours of each team’s progression down the tournament ladder since October 21, leading up to the MLS Cup final on November 12.

Each team is paired with a local band. Matches include the New England Revolution with the band Mates of State; Chicago Fire and Academy Is; FC Dallas and Polyphonic Spree; Colorado Rapids and Vaux; Houston Dynamo and Solange Knowles; Chivas USA and Ozomatli; DC United and Spank Rock; and the New York Red Bulls and Lordz.

The online campaign also includes a MySpace component found on an Adidas page where the brand counts over 60,000 friends. As part of the campaign people can take the mash-up video and assets to post on their MySpace page.

“It’s cool in a way that we’re letting people take the assets of the campaign and upload them to their site and do what they want with them,” said Zada. Fans won’t have the ability to remix the content. “We felt that creatively it was much more interesting to see these professionals set the tone.”

Zada hasn’t ruled out letting fans create their own mash-ups in the future. The door is also open to format the video content for a TV spot, though no plans to do so are yet in place.

Branded music services firm Rock River handled the music selection and licensing for EVB. Zada called Rock River a “crucial part of the mix,” for its ability to locate bands from each of the target markets in the short time it took to create the MLS Mash-Ups campaign.

One challenge in this responsibility is a reluctance for artists to hand over the creative license such as music and video assets. “There were some bands that didn’t see the potential, but there were a lot of bands that loved the idea and went out of their way to be involved with us,” Zada told ClickZ.

For the VJ’s part, C-TRL Labs and Eclectic Method were each given a handful of assets including team video footage, photos, city footage, music and music videos from each band and other video and still assets.

While EVB, which was recently acquired by Omnicom, is by nature an interactive agency with accounts including BestBuy and Sunkist, Old Spice and LeapFrog, it is realizing the benefit of creating every aspect of a campaign. “We saw a huge need. All of our clients were begging for ideas that were media-agnostic,” said Zada.

The firm created online and print ads for the campaign; each pointing to the MLS Mash-Ups site. Carat planned the media buys for the campaign. Online ads are set to run on Sports Illustrated, IGN, The Onion, Pitchfork, Burst Media, ESPN, Fox Sports, AIM, Yahoo, MySpace, ESPN Soccernet, UGO, Heavy.com, Break.com, Max Preps and Broadband Enterprises sites.

Offline, ads will run in weekly publications including the Village Voice, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Chicago Reader, Boston Dig Weekly, Manchester Hippo Press, Dallas Observer, Ft. Worth Weekly, Washington D.C. City Paper, Houston Press and Denver Westwood.

The campaign signifies Adidas’ 10-year sponsorship commitment to major-league soccer. It will also deploy street teams in select cities to pass out post cards which can be redeemed for posters at local stores.

Previously EVB created a campaign centered around Kevin Garnett for Adidas during basketball season.

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