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adidas x Human Race: a missed opportunity?

The strategy of the German brand has penalized the shirts designed by Pharrell Williams

adidas x Human Race: a missed opportunity? The strategy of the German brand has penalized the shirts designed by Pharrell Williams

Between Saturday and Sunday, in London, Turin and Manchester, the new Human Race x adidas jerseys debuted at the same time, with the uniforms of the best clubs of the German brand redesigned by Pharrell Williams - those of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are still missing. There have been many positive comments and many appreciations on social media, yet what could have been a milestone of fashion football has passed quietly, mainly due to the strategy chosen by adidas in the launch. In fact, despite the originality and aesthetic charm of the individual jerseys (plus the fundamental presence of Pharrell Williams and the great top clubs of Europe) the storytelling of the product risks devaluing its value.    

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In this period football is experiencing a difficult moment and the present outlines a new way of life in the sport, now without fans and with less enthusiasm. For this reason, the choice of adidas could be affected by this new sporting context without a public. In addition, the photos taken by adidas to present the jerseys involved level players - Bellerin, Dybala, Rashford, Pogba, Sané - but they were minimal, simple shots, without a special narrative or proper storytelling. For example, for the launch of Super Kids Puma made a funny and fascinating shoot, with a video in which both Bellerin and the city of New York were seen; but also Thom Browne, to present Barcelona's new off-the-pitch capsule collection, with the Italian rapper Ghali as testimonial, it took off in various parts of the Catalan city.  

Not only that. The very concept of rethinking jerseys, in fact, is a fascinating idea since they are historic jerseys and have a very important heritage behind them, but all this is not valued. Arsenal's 'Banana' model is probably the second most original shirt ever, just as the Juventus squad has become very popular thanks to Drake's postYamamoto's signature on that of Real in 2014 or the importance in England of United's second jersey, the one worn by the Class '92. adidas used a more generalist strategy instead of leaving autonomy to the history of the clubs, which is minimally present with short videos on Instagram and Twitter in which you see old goals scored with those jerseys. Among other things, these are jerseys that are very successful among the niches of fans interested in this aesthetic world.

To say, Jordan's agreement with PSG guarantees the French considerable visibility and the relationship between club and brand is exclusive, unique, with products dedicated exclusively to Paris. The same as when Palace designed a collection with adidas for Juventus: the shirt and sweatshirts made for the Bianconeri. The partnership between Milan and Slam Jam is also a more specific and territorial act, linked more to the Milanese fan base of the Rossoneri.

They are products that have made clubs fashionable elements, but with their own logo and name strongly present in the collaboration relationship. Instead, it is precisely the typicality that is missing from the adidas collection. The quality of the product - original and aesthetically very beautiful idea - is certainly not in question, but the sense behind the combination on the same level as the best adidas clubs. In fact, after the release of the weekend, the result of the uniforms of Human Race x adidas was on the one hand the appreciation for the product and the achievement of immediate popularity, on the other, the attenuation of a commercial vehicle football club for third actors. Pharrell Williams' entry into football via adidas comes at a particular time, when there is less interest and visibility around football and it is a waste considering the hype of the singer - who already is a football fan thanks to Tyler, The Creator and his collection of football jerseys.