Virat Kohli is the story of true grit and determination. Loved and loathed in equal measure by cricket crazy fans, the cricketer has now risen as the captain of the test cricket team and the vice-captain of ODI with a powerful performance record to boot. He is the fastest batsman in the world to score 1000 runs in the T20s, he is also the top-ranked T20 batsman in the ICC ratings.
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh is of the opinion that Kohli is the greatest T20 batsman right now and that there’s a bit of Tendulkar in him. Kohli has indeed inherited a lot from Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Cricket.
Post a long and memorable association of 16 years with Tendulkar, Adidas found a new brand face in the young and brash Kohli three years ago. His extreme passion for cricket, vivacious sportsmanship and the ability to absorb brickbats, has proved to be a winning combination for the sports brand.
Kohli has been the brand ambassador of Adidas featuring in a number of campaigns inspired by his own life. Last cricket season, it was his ‘I target the moment’ ad that created the waves, this time it’s the latest Adidas campaign #FeelLoveUseHate that’s going to be loved.
The central concept takes a good measure of inspiration from his own journey as a cricketer: how he’s been loved to bits at times, as well as hated in equal parts. It tells the story of an ever-evolving cricketer, who treats the love and hate with tact – he feels the love to fuel himself and uses the hate to challenge himself.
Conceptualised by DDB Mudra, the ad takes the viewer through the various things that are evoked both by love and hate, while Kohli is seen playing to the lines. Love is the fuel, hate is the driver; love is what helps you rise, hate is what is waiting to see you fall; love keeps no scores, hate is settling scores; love gives everything, hate takes everything. News headlines on Kohli are interspersed in between the fast paced story.
In the end what matters the most is one’s game. So ‘Feel Love Use Hate’.
The brand’s social media properties have just begun the buzz and we will be treated to more visuals like this one during this T20:
Keep feeling the love and using the hate – in the end it’s the #game that matters #FeelLoveUseHate pic.twitter.com/x1uuuKucqc
— adidas Cricket (@adidascricket) March 18, 2022
A similar approach has been adopted for its Reebok India brand featuring brand ambassador Kangana Ranaut. The latest TVC for the ‘Be more human’ campaign features Ranaut sweating it out, while the dialogues narrate her own struggles in life and how she overcame them. However, the execution and storytelling is very different. A series of powerful dialogues begin: “What did you feel when your father didn’t support your dreams?” “Focused,” she replies. And when the question’s on her career low: “After your first movie you didn’t get any new offers. How did you deal with that?” She says, “I raised my game.” All questions are answered while she continues with her exercise regime of yoga, weights, crossfit, etc.
Adidas India’s ‘#FeelLoveUseHate’ manages to play around well with its brand ambassador, Virat Kohli, to leverage him the best way a brand can, and position itself as an enabler in the process. By celebrating both love and hatred that is often showered even on the best players, the brand has taken a realistic stand in a sportpersons’ life. Indeed all that matters in the end, is your game.
Besides, the new ad is probably the Indian adaptation of last year’s Adidas Soccer ad ‘#ThereWillBeHaters’ featuring some of the world’s best footballers, Gareth Bale, James Rodríguez, Luis Suárez and Karim Benzema, who are much hated and trolled for their style.