- Adidas and Dick's Sporting Goods are sponsoring the first Snapchat video game that lets mobile users buy products directly. "Baseball's Next Level" is a home-run derby game that can be played inside the image-messaging app through the end of October, coinciding with the Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series, Engadget reported.
- The game uses eight-bit graphics that were common among video games of the 1970s and 80s, and Adidas is selling limited-edition cleats whose retro designs was inspired by those games. The Adizero and Icon V styles sell for $130 and have eight-bit patterns and "up" arrows on their heels' pull tabs to represent advancing, or "leveling up," in a video game.
- The shoes have different styles for each MLB player featured in "Baseball's Next Level," including Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Justin Turner and Kiké Hernandez. Adidas also sells the eight-bit cleats on its website.
"Baseball's Next Level" is notable for combining a video game with e-commerce, giving players a chance to buy products they see featured in a gamified experience. Adidas created the game, which also is available on a dedicated microsite, with developer AvatarLabs to engage Snapchat's typically younger audience that's difficult to reach through traditional media like TV and print. Parent company Snap estimates that 75% of U.S. consumers ages 13 to 34 are active on the app.
Adidas has grown more active in the gaming space to reach young, valuable consumers who are accessible by newer formats of nontraditional advertising. In August, the sportswear giant signed streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins in its first sponsorship deal with an esports player. Global esports revenue is forecast to jump 27% to $1.1 billion this year amid higher sales of advertising, sponsorship and media rights to competitive video gaming, according to researcher Newzoo. About 67% of Americans ages 2 and older play video games, and 90% of those people use a mobile device for gaming, making wireless platforms more popular than personal computers and consoles for video games, per researcher NPD Group. These device preferences can help marketers as they design placements specific to mobile gaming platforms.
Along with the new game, Adidas' innovative campaigns on Snapchat have included last year's sponsorship of an augmented reality (AR) lens that for the first time let mobile users virtually try on shoes. Tapping on the Adidas logo in the app's menu bar activated the AR experience, which starts with an unboxing video before letting people choose to see more information or try on the virtual shoes. Snapchat Lenses let users decorate their selfies and pictures with digital imagery before sharing them in a message.
Adidas' archrival Nike also has run campaigns on Snapchat to drive e-commerce. In May, Nike sponsored its first shoppable Snapchat Lens for apparel as part of its campaign around the U.S. Soccer Women's National Team. The image-messaging app's AR feature let fans decorate their selfies with virtual soccer jerseys and Nike's "Just do it" slogan. It also let them tap their phone screens to virtually try on the jerseys and visit Nike.com, where they could buy authentic team merchandise ahead of the tournament.