Umbro is the proud sponsor of countries like Azerbaijan and Ireland and club teams like Everton, CSKA Moscow and Wisła Kraków. In its first project for British footballing legends, Umbro, KesselsKramer London was tasked with the job of launching Umbro Velocita. One of the lightest, fastest, most innovative boots out there – weighing just 165 grams.
How do you communicate such a boot, while retaining Umbro’s celebrated authenticity – especially when you have to fight against brands with astronomical budgets and a mountain of star players? By celebrating the grassroots players of this world and proclaiming that glory is not only for the 1%, it’s for the 99% too. And by visualising this in a deliberately ironic, over the top way. “Every player out there believes they have the potential to deliver glory of legendary proportions. Velocita won’t promise you instant superhero powers. But they’ll certainly give you that extra boost towards the limelight. Just don’t let all that glory go to your head, you Speed god”, says CCO Dave Bell from KK Outlet.
What was the brief?
“Do something disruptive and surprising for the launch of this new boot, Velocita, which is all about speed (and lightness). But still retain Umbro’s characteristics. This is a purely footballing brand (no basketball or running or fencing shoes) for the 99% as well as the elite players.”
What is the strategy – as Umbro sponsors countries like Azerbaijan?
“For the strategy and direction of Umbro (and Azerbaijan’s national team) am afraid you’ll have to ask them directly. For the proposition of the communication for Velocita: we wanted to tell what’s good about the boots (speed in all directions) and show them off nicely, since it’s a new boot, but do so with Umbro’s tone of voice and characteristics. We came up with the idea of ‘Glory for all’ based on the insight that it’s not just for the 1% that deserve the glory, it’s for the grassroots players too. At the same time we didn’t want to exaggerate or over hype the boots. The Velocita will enhance your game but they won’t turn you into Bale overnight. Having said that, that’s exactly what we over-promise in an ironic way, by showing a player scoring a goal, and dreaming of the glory along the way, all pumped up with visual effects and a rousing internal monlogue VO type of thing. We wanted to go very much over the top with our visuals – but in a tongue in cheek way. Our starting point was all the great footballing photoshopped memes out there, with the likes of Ballotelli weilding light sabres and so forth. We couldn’t compete with the other football brands on budget so we thought we’d go ridiculous with the SFX.”
Who came up with the fire? Was that an aha moment?
“Explosions and fire are always good when you want to go over the top in your SFX. As are things like laser eyes.”
Is it Umbro’s aim to claim edgier communication (as goes on on social media)?
“I don’t think that’s ever the aim in communication, to make it edgy for the sake of being edgy. But I think it was definitely an aim to do something you might not expect from Umbro, a bit like the boots themselves.”
It’s a bit off and therefore risky too, don’t you agree?
“The impression we have of Umbro, in our short time so far working with them, is that despite being around for 90 years or so, they don’t let that heritage weigh them down. They are into doing surprising things, that you might not expect of them. And have done so long before we came along. So I think it’s in their nature to sidestep what people expect of them – they are seen as this very credible brand, the heart and soul of football, but still have a cheeky, tenacious Northern attitude alongside that, which is very different to the Nikes and Pumas and Adidas’ of this world.”
What was the main challenge visually?
“Working to make sure the visual effects are good enough to look good, but bad enough to make it clear we’re not being entirely serious.”
Most football brands work with starts, why didn’t you?
“For reasons as above. We wanted to focus on the stars in their own clubs, and teams, not the top players . The 99% who play football and love football, but will never be good enough for a contract and a matching set of Lamborghinis (but they can still dream)…”
What’s the goal?
“That young football players who might not have considered Umbro will pick up a pair of Velocita, try them out for size. I think with the fact they are so light, and so different for Umbro, you can really notice it in your game and when you wear them.”
What else can we expect with this campaign, for I assume this will not be it?
“A lot of the countries around the world that work with Umbro will be continuing the communication locally for Velocita. I think the ‘Glory for all’ statement can definitely continue beyond this initial launch.”
Client: Paul Nugent, Helene Hope
Agency: KessselsKramer London
Director: Ben Jones
Production Company: Dark Energy