blackout squad

New Balance Football

Socially-enabled grassroots brand advocacy

social assets

As a newcomer to global football, New Balance identified an opportunity to engage with grassroots players across the world, encourage trial of their boots and to spread the word about the brand.


Our core audience of 17 year old serious aspirers are avid followers of football and consume football-related content on social media via their phones. As aspiring pros themselves, they understand the convention that pros test unreleased boots using ‘black-out’ prototypes.


 We identified an opportunity to use social media to run a competition to recruit a squad of influential grassroots players who could earn a one-year contract in the New Balance Blackout Squad. They had to be be passionate about the game, vocal and influential on social media and willing to spread the word about New Balance Football. In return they would receive exclusive pre-release product drops at the same time as our sponsored pros.


In addition to the global squad, six separate markets (UK, Spain, Japan, China, Australia and USA) activated the idea creating six squads, all of whom became active brand advocates for NB Football. In total we exceeded engagement targets with over 16.5k entries from over 166 countries. The campaign was featured in Twitter’s ‘10 Creative wins in April 2016’ and helped the brand’s exposure for player and club assets with a combined reach of 25.4 million consumers. In year 2, consumer engagement elevated to interest amongst existing football influencers with large social reach who were requesting to be involved.