Red & Yellow School students Simon Miszewski and James Hamlyn take a look at Orlando Pirates new kit after the football club returned to their iconic black kit for the 2013/14 season. It was launched by adidas, with an integrated campaign across digital, social media, above-the-line, retail and PR.
The campaign concept, Black is Back, was a strong drive by the Club to return to its roots, with the colour black being intrinsically linked to the Club’s heritage. It was a campaign executed with an exciting and fresh visual direction, after a season of wearing a predominantly white home kit.
Lauren Haakman, brand marketing manager at adidas South Africa said “the campaign was an emotive one because we know how passionate Orlando Pirates supporters are and we wanted to connect with that pride they have in the Club whilst making the colour the hero”.
So what did Miszewski and Hamlyn think of the campaign? They give two views of the direction the club has taken.
Back to Black
It’s great to see Pirates are sporting their original black strip, but one can’t fail to notice social pressures that influenced this decision by both the Pirates and Adidas, official sponsor of the Bucs.
Regardless of the new technological enhancements or attributes Adidas have implemented into this new 2013/14 strip, it’s the Black that has once again fuelled the passion of the fans.
Speculation shrouded the launch of the 2012/13 season when Bucs along with Adidas announced to “drop” the black strip and bring in its replacement white strip, from the bench. “It’s like Real Madrid doing away with their white strip”, a die-hard fan said, and to be honest it made sense. Black is more than just a colour, it’s incorporates the heritage of the Bucs.
One thing we can say is that we can give it to Ogilvy SA for turning the 2012/13 white strip blunder into a memorable campaign “Black is Back” and turned it into a social event.
Black is Back
The return to the black kit is a nod to the heritage of the club. Unsurprisingly the overall theme of the campaign was black, although used well it was hardly groundbreaking stuff. Although a reference to the history of the club this isn’t clear or really used in any of the videos. I suppose if you are diehard fan of the club then it’s obvious…
Generating large amounts of awareness from a campaign is always an aim and sometimes hard to do. But all Adidas needed to do was turn to their budget and extensive network of stores to install window displays throughout the country. This of course achieved the required results but it didn’t really require anyone to think out side the box.
The campaign certainly delivered drama and suspense with its use of teaser videos leading up to kit reveal and great integration across a number of platforms. However it appears it was almost a victim of its own success with such strong anticipation for the launch the actual kit seemed to fall a little bit flat. Often a problem with great marketing is that the product does not live up to expectations and it’s clear that some Pirate fans felt this way. However that is the very nature of dealing with the passion brought on by sport, particularly football.