New Balance celebrates soccer subcultures in YouTube docuseries

Dive Brief:

  • New Balance debuted a new YouTube docuseries called “Football’s Next Wave,” which celebrates soccer players who exceeded the odds and became world-class players through non-traditional paths, per a press release shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The three-part series highlights the subcultures surrounding the game from grassroots football in the U.K. to the emerging soccer scene in Atlanta and the Japanese soccer community which merges Eastern and Western cultures.
  • By celebrating these trailblazers who broke the traditional rules to succeed, the brand aims to position itself as the brand of “the unconventional,” the release said. The campaign was created in partnership with creative agency ZAK.

Dive Insight:

New Balance is shining a spotlight on the underdogs of soccer from around the world who have emerged through unconventional means as a way to show the broad appeal of the game and inspire people to pick up a soccer ball. The content uses emotional storytelling to inspire anyone to kick a ball and challenge the established order.

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The new YouTube series is a video content play at a time when many consumers are still staying close to home due to the pandemic, and in doing so, are viewing more video content across devices. YouTube said at its recent NewFronts presentation that users watch 450 million hours of content on TV screens alone each day, while live event viewership was up 250% in March, according to a report by Tubefilter.

Sports-related content on YouTube has shown signs of helping brands connect with consumers while many live sports are still on hiatus. Chainsaw maker Stihl boosted viewership of its Timbersports lumberjack competition with a social media campaign that drove about 95,000 clicks on its YouTube page — six times its target — and led many viewers to binge-watch the entire 16-episode series.

The New Balance series comes as running shoe sales have been on the rise since mid-May, per The NPD Group data cited by Footwear News. With gyms still closed in many areas because of the pandemic, people are getting out and running, helping drive a 30% increase in performance running shoe sales for the week ended June 20.

“Football’s Next Wave” is similar to other athlete-focused campaigns from New Balance. In February, the brand launched the “We Got Now” campaign as a part of its larger “Fearlessly Independent” platform. The effort centered on a video series profiling athletes and other ambassadors, and was part of a strategy to boost the brand’s multiyear marketing partnership with the NBA.

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