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Here's why the Nike partnership with Mbappé is unconventional

'Bondy Dreams' breaks with the past of the American brand's football collaborations

Here's why the Nike partnership with Mbappé is unconventional 'Bondy Dreams' breaks with the past of the American brand's football collaborations

"It's a sign of recognition. I spent most of my life there and that's where I became who I am. With Nike we have based ourselves on the concept of 'dreaming', because I am a great dreamer and I continue to dream"

Kylian Mbappé spoke about 'Bondy Dreams', his first collection with Nike, as well as the first dedicated to a French player. The entire campaign developed by the American brand is based on Mbappé's strong bond with its roots and with the suburb of Paris where the Paris Saint-Germain striker grew up. Bondy is a town of over 50,000 inhabitants located in the Paris banlieu, which since the '60s has seen an exponential growth of the population. A rapid demographic development is also due to the HLM, the rent-controlled housing that began to accommodate a large number of poor families and North African immigrant families, such as that of Mbappé. The fact that 'Bondy Dreams' emphasizes this context is an absolute novelty for Nike, because it breaks with a recurring trend in the football players's partnerships, in which the dimension of the roots of the player was hidden, as if it aroused a kind of embarrassment.

The capsule includes the signature shoes of the French striker and a series of items that seem to focus more on the look than on the performance, for a use that goes beyond the football pitch. 'Bondy Dreams' includes a Nike F.C. football shirt, a t-shirt (with the words 'without risk, there's no victory'), a hoodie, a hip pack and a hat, demonstrating that it's not exactly a collection based on the performance, but rather on lifestyle. Mbappé's bond with Bondy and his origins in general is clear, and no details are left to chance. The '93' on each item refers to the identification number of the city's arrondissement, while the green recalls the rural past of the neighborhood and the club colors of AS Bondy, the team with which Mbappé began to play football. Nike's choice makes the French talent even more close to Paris Saint-Germain, the club in his city of which he is already a symbol and with which Nike has a huge sponsorship contract until 2032. In addition, the capsule demostrate that Nike wants to invest on Mbappé because the brand believes the he can take up the legacy of Messi and Ronaldo. 'Bondy Dreams' brings togheter Mbappé with Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Neymar, the only Nike athletes to wear signature shoes included in dedicated collections, but at the same it set a clear difference with them. Because the American brand has never emphasized so clearly the 'humble' roots of a player before. The choice of directing the collection on the link with Bondy, with a generally poor reality (such as Sterling's 'Don't dream just for you, dream for the next you'), it's similar to the NBA players campaigns (for examples, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Gasol brothers, Derrick RoseMichael JordanLebron James, Russell Westbrook). The fact that Lebron James wore the shirt of the collection makes this bond even more clear.

But in addition to this, as the words of Mbappé suggest, in Nike's project the dimension of the dream is predominant, which in this case follows a common trend over the years, through campaigns based precisely on this theme, such as the recent 'Dream With Us' and 'Dream Crazier'. The factor of hope, of dreams, fits perfectly with a specific target, the children, who dream about following the footsteps of Mbappé, able to get out of a Paris suburb. The presentation of Mbappé's capsule and new signature shoes took place at the Saint-Denis Stadium, with the participation of over 130 children from AS Bondy, to whom Nike gave some pieces from the collection. Their presence in the campaign is therefore not accidental, but is part of Nike's strategy, which associates the brand with the symbol of the next generations of footballers, trying to replicate the same effect that Ronaldo had on Mbappé when he was a child.

"I didn't want it to be just a marketing product, I wanted something authentic that could tell my story. And Nike met all my expectations." Mbappé is happy with the result, because it sums up his path, his roots. And Nike with him, because it knows that it has consolidated a partnership with one of the next faces of world football.