Reminiscent of the old Guiness surfer ad, the Force of Black campaign surges with power and adrenaline. Intense is probably an understatement when it comes to Adidas’s latest campaign.


The advert begins with a heartbeat and moves outwards from human cells to close-ups of sweat on the brow of the rugby player and hair on their arms standing on end. The words of the advert all reflect the intensity of the visuals. The phrase “pumping in our veins” for instance is mirrored by the image of the rugby players’ arm visually tremoring with adrenaline.


Throughout the advert the act of playing rugby and preparing to play rugby is put in sequence with images of powerful animals, machines and weather conditions including a cheetah, a rocket, and lightning. From the start of the advert the visuals, sound and voice-over increase in speed, intensity and volume, building to a crescendo that ends with a loud roar.


What we like about the video


In short it grabs the viewer attention and really delivers on the message it is conveying to its audience. The advert follows through well into the branding with clean-cut and precise black and white visuals and delivers on its intention to put the viewer in the shoes of the all blacks. While it might not appear to be the most nuanced or sophisticated of adverts at first glance it can’t be denied that it packs a punch. By committing to one simple message, focusing in and taking it to its absolute limit we think the Force of Black campaign reflects a bold move on the part of the creative team at Adidas.


Film critic Mark Kermode describes Mad Max as an experience in which the viewer can “feel the gears grinding and can smell the oil”. The same might be said of the new Adidas campaign. The advert (itself cinematic in feel) does not let the viewer rest. Rather than being a passive bystander to the action on-screen the viewer cannot help but be drawn into the action in part because of the sheer physicality and visceral nature of what is being portrayed on-screen.


Branding: Force of Black Challenge


Outside of the advert the branding and marketing of the Force of Black campaign has been executed in a very succinct fashion. The one strong message is carried through to the marketing. The intention to draw the viewer in so that they feel like they are actually involved in the action themselves is taken one step further in the Force of Black challenge. Here passers by are invited to take part in an experience that is again intended to emulate the experience of facing off against the all blacks.



This is a great idea that really brings home the message that adidas are the brand to put you (quite literally in some respects) in the shoes of the New Zealand rugby players.


By Paul Gregson