Ahoy! It’s a goalie floating on a barge.
And not just any goalie but soccer legend Edwin van der Sar
June 21, 2012
IIn the United States sports fans fantasize about dunking on NBA superstar LeBron James.
In the Netherlands they dream of scoring on legendary soccer goalie Edwin van der Sar.
Imagine the Dutch people's excitement when they actually got the chance to take a shot with him in goal.
On the afternoon of April 18, van der Sar, considered one of the best players in the game's history, set off on a barge floating along the Amsterdam's famed canals.
The 4- by 10-meter barge had been covered with Astroturf and marked to look like a soccer field, and it included one regulation-sized goal for van der Sar to guard.
Small cubes were placed on the banks of the canal at four locations across the city. On each cube was a soccer ball.
The first people to show up at each location were selected to take a shot at van der Sar's goal as he floated past on the barge.
In all, they peppered him with more than 40 shots throughout the day.
The clever stunt was the brainchild of iris Amsterdam for its client adidas.
"We wanted to think of something that pushed the boundaries of what had been done in the category, something that would capture the imaginations of the Dutch people by taking two things the country is renowned for and putting them together: the canals and Edwin van der Sar," says Tom Ormes, creative director at iris Amsterdam.
Key to the event's success was building buzz about it in advance. Adidas teased the stunt on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the adidas web site beforehand.
But the final route that van der Sar took on the canals, as well as the four shooting points, was not revealed until minutes before the event began.
Each location had about 10 balls, and the first people who arrived were allowed to take the shots.
Van der sar, decked out in adidas gear from head to toe, proved a worthy adversary. He saved all but five balls, and he managed to stay on the barge during the entire trip, despite its small size.
The stunt worked because it played on people's innate desire to compare themselves to their superstars. Even though most of the shooters knew they had no chance against Van der sar, they still wanted to try to score on him just to be able to say they did it.
Of course, they also went straight to social media to post pictures and play-by-play accounts of the stunt, furthering adidas' reach.
"It went nuts on the day, people seemed to turn up from everywhere (a tweet was sent out 30 minutes before it happened)," says Ormes.
"And then it went nuts online. Over 400,000 views in a few days. Not bad for an event that didn't break the bank either."
Tags: adidas, alternative media, alternative media stunt, ambient media, amsterdam, creative director, desire, edwin van der sar, edwin van der sar adidas, iris amsterdam, location, nba, Netherlands, people, soccer, Tom Ormes, United States
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