The selling game

As footie fans plan their road to Wembley for Euro 96. the world’s top sportswear brands are tuming up the volume with a round of play-to-win ads, writes Eddie Gibb.

media and technology

the lowdown

Games . Web Sites . CD-ROMs

John Henderson and Alan Morrison go a bundle on the latest multimedia releases.

Wipeont (Saturn £39.99)

if there’s one game that’s sold Sony’s Playstation, it’s Wipeout. You can buy the soundtrack and you can buy the clothes. Now you can buy it for the Saturn. The problem? No music. Or at least no music by Leftfield, Orbital and the Chemical Brothers. Instead you get some lame techno by Cold Storage (Who?) Visually, Wipeour for the Saturn is as slick as the original and the gameplay is just as good. But oh dear, this is like watching a training scene from Rocky with the sound turned down and Simon Bates on the radio. (JH)

he Adidas marketing team is currently htrnkered down in Barcelona to talk tactics in the battle for the hearts. minds and cash of the consumer during the approaching footie-fest of Euro ()6. when England hosts the European championship. They will have to come up with something good no. stunning if the Adidas campaign is not to be left in the shade of the company's two biggest rivals. Nike and Reebok. which have already unveiled centrepiece ads to run throughout the competition. lt‘s game-on in the battle of the sportswear brands. Trainer wars are nothing new. btrt Europe's biggest football event has forced the Big Three companies to focus on a single sport at the satire time. and in a

Chronicles of the Sword (PC CD-Rom I PlayStation, £44.95)

This 3D point and click adventure is based upon the Arthurian legends. with the player taking the role of Gawain. It’s Gawain’s job to eliminate Arthur’s evil half-sister Morgana before she kills the king and takes the throne for herself. There are over 100 puzzling locations some of which include real-time fight sequences - and all of which appear in glossy cinematic graphics with a full musical score. Despite publicity claims to the contrary, Chronicles is unlikely to become as famous as the legends themselves but it’s definitely worth a shot. (J H)

Scottish Claymores Web site

Touch down on the Net for gridiron action from a local angle, as the Scottish Claymores begin the 1996 season of the American Football World League. The team’s home page offers four distinctive silver and blue helmets to click on for frequently updated information: News (match reports, rosters. gossip); Fixtures (the times, dates and venues of forthcoming games and contacts for opposing teams); Team (the Ciaymores‘ line-up) and Cheerleaders (pics and public appearance details). it‘s not just an outlet for supplying statistic junkies the numbers that matter are there, but the nicely scanned portraits of team players and cheerleaders give the site a personal touch. (AM) You can access the Scottish Claymores web site at http://www. Claymores. co. uk

98 The List 19 Apr-2 May 1996

market which will be cluttered with Euro 96 promotions. sponsorship and tie-ins. Quite simply. Nike. Reebok and Adidas will have to shout very loudly indeed ifthey are to be heard above the general football tnania which will jam every channel. .-\.s Reebok's UK marketing director Paisley-born Robert Fallow frankly admits: ‘At the end of the day we all produce very similar products so making a difference is absoluter key.‘

The 9()-seeond ads produced for Nike and Reebok are already going head-to-head on a television screen near you. Reebok‘s ‘Ryan Giggs li' is already on terrestrial telly. while only those with Sky subscriptions will have seen Nike's controversial ‘Good vs Evil‘ ad: already deemed too violent to show without cuts. Think 70s exploitation flick R()//(’rbu// meets the scary bits front Mozart's [)0]! (itnl‘lllilil and you‘ll come close to imaging this nightmare vision of evil forces pitted against the cream of international soccer. Bad-boy footballer Eric C‘antona is cast as a kind of 'Ii’rminu/or figure who offs the baddic with a flaming ball of fire.

‘Violence on and off the pitch has soured the game at times btit our players represent a different approach.‘ says copywriter Glenn Cole of ad agency Wieden and Kennedy Amsterdam in trade magazine Gnu/mfg”. ‘They take us back to the beattty of the game and overcome the bad forces.‘

Reebok. meanwhile. has taken a very different approach which veers away from the elite sport connotations of the Nike ad in favour of a fan’s-eye view of football. London agency Lowe Howard-Spink persuaded around twenty celebrities from Jarvis Cocker to Reeves and Mortimer to be filmed for a

Nike, Reebok and Adidas will have to shout very loudly indeed it they are to be heard above the general football mania which will jam every channel.

Euro stars: Jimmy Hill (top) takes a boot in the teeth tor Reebok, while Eric Cantona (above) plays with tire for Nike

neatly edited fantasy football moment with the pay- off liue ‘()h. to be in Ryan (iiggs‘ boots”. as none other than George Best pulls on the Manchester l'nitcd star's No l l jersey. While Nike have produced an operatic epic. Reebok has gone for a crafty Britpop ad which is stuffed with jokes and popular culture references that non-football fans will love.

So who‘s the winner.’ Adrian Jeffery and Ben Friend. the creative team behind new lidinburgh agency l57o. giye an unequivocal thumbs up to Nike‘s ad which they rate as one of the best they've ever seen. ‘lt sends shivers down your spine.‘ says Jeffery. ‘lt has a passion which is a very emotive way of talking about football. The Nike ad is the one that football fans will want to watch again.‘

FllL'llll (ltltl lc‘l‘lt'l‘) impressed by Reeboks ‘ls’yan (itggs ll. btrt without the same enthusiasm. They regard making an ad w inch is dclil‘veratcl} Vet} different to Nike‘s ‘Just Do It ethos as a smart ntoyc. bttt feel ‘Ryan (iiggs ll' lacks arty real braml-buildmg strategy other than being a good one—off ad. ‘I admire Reebok for not trying to be Nike. bttt that could also be a bit of weakness] says Jeffery. suggesting the company has accepted a runner- up status in the market. 'Reebok are still try mg to build a brand whereas Nike hate built their brand and are now haying a hell of a good time with rt.’

So there you have it. folks: the ad agency boy s score it Nike l. Reebok 0. Now it's tip to the .-\didas campaign fronted by Rangers‘ star l’aul (iascoigne to knock in a late equaliser.

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