how Adidas conquered the Parisian running

Previously far behind in the running market, Adidas has conquered social media and the Parisian street thanks to the Boost Battle Run.

It is "the biggest urban running initiative ever conceived in France" for Thierry Reboul, president of the agency Ubi Bene. A crazy project that an "army" of 10,000 runners has appropriated with an unprecedented engagement on social networks.

To decipher what makes such a community run, today we have an appointment with Thierry Reboul (Ubi Bene) and Solène Le Grignou, head of the social media division Isobar.

– More than 10,000 registered runners in the different teams (for an initial goal of 1000 participants)
– More than 200,000 social interactions over the year
– More than 150,000 conversations with neighborhood hashtags
– 2,5M of affected contacts on social networks
– More than 400 media coverage in 10 months of activation including nearly 200 for the final including: Le Parisien, 20 Minutes, Direct Matin, TF1, Team 21, France 2, France 3 I-TV, LCI, RTL, BFM; RMC, Grazia …
– A global commercial success for the Boost range

The context

For Thierry Reboul of Ubi Bene, the adidas agency: "the urban running is the obsession of all brands today. An obsession that does not dry up year by year. The stakes are high for sportswear brands, because the marketing around urban running targets all types of runners with a priority given to those who do not run and women. What extend a booming market, and encourage the already conquered public to run more.

For lack of a strong story to tell, Adidas was satisfied with a little enviable challenger position in a market historically dominated by Asics, assaulted by the initiatives of Nike, and attacked at its peak by the brands of specialists (with the current minimalist in particular).

Then came the range Boost and its supposedly revolutionary technology: shoes combining both cushioning and energy return at each stride. The agency immediately found an opportunity to speak.

The concept of the Boost Battle Run

"We did not want an umpteenth community animation, with simple training with a branded coach …" Ubi Bene, "the event agency", will try to hit harder. With a "very basic idea: if you do counter psychology, you realize that everyone is more ready to defend his neighborhood, his street than his country or the European Union".

Based on this so effective law of proximity, the Boost Battle Run offers different Parisian neighborhoods to compete in a running challenge open to all, inspired by the Palio of Siena, and strongly connected to social media. All on 10 months before a grand finale.

Adidas map boost battle paris

If this is not the first marketing operation to target the "Local micro"Adidas and its agency have carefully cultivated the identity of each neighborhood team, with a coat of arms, a headquarters and leaders. The blazons were made by the artist and tattoo artist Franck Pellegrino, highly recommended by the brand. "We wanted runners to be proud to wear their team's t-shirts, to claim their coat of arms. What would not have been possible with a simple t-shirt with Boost logo … But we regularly meet people who wear their team t-shirts in the evening or elsewhere … but not necessarily to run! "

Leaders were initially recruited into "influencer mode" for their community. But faced with the success of the operation, the team of Thierry Reboul "quickly looked for people with great desire and especially able to manage neighborhood teams of several hundred people." Each leader having to organize 2 to 3 races a week, manage several level groups and the overflowing creativity of some members …

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<h2>The abundance of community</h2>
<p>The challenge of the Boost Battle Run is as much about running as the teams' online activity. The teams are structured around Facebook groups and are encouraged to publish as much content as possible with the hashtag of their district: # boostRepublic #boostSentier # boostBastille … </p>
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But these problems of rich are ultimately eclipsed by the creative abundance of different neighborhood teams, where in addition to co-leaders, web or social media managers have been appointed to manage the online communication of each team. Allowing each team to overcome the challenges proposed by the organization, with new challenges, online projects, taunts from opposing parties. "Quickly, we had to integrate web or team managers in our meetings at the agency, formulating their own opinions on the devices that we proposed. "Says half-amused half-intrigued Thierry Reboul, who still does not return" that in the end, the teams have become armies. There are generals, divisions, colors, HQs, exclusions … "But also many holidays and little stories that we do not prefer to mention here!

The final

With this success, and the release of a new shoe – the Ultraboost – Ubi Bene was able to convince Adidas to organize a grand finale, culmination of the first season of the Boost Battle Run, in the presence of Teddy Riner and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:

In 15 years of Ubi Bene, Thierry Reboul had never seen such a craze during an evening "with more than 3,000 people who began to scream when the different neighborhood teams arrived on the spot, with their leaders, their pennants, t-shirts and war cries. These are infinitely stronger feelings than those usually encountered in a marketing event. Emotionally, we were rather in the register of a concert "… or in that of a sporting event at the major stake? It is also said that the cup awarded to the team #boostBastille has passed from member to member, Brennus shield way, and that it is now in a sorry state!

The keys to success?

– The idea of ​​running for his neighborhood was a decisive lever.

– Quickly, the new members join a team for the community spirit which animates it, more than for its geographical situation. Some members do not hesitate to cross all Paris to join the team of their choice. For Thierry Reboul, "The Boost Battle Run was born as a marketing initiative, but today it is a story of communities first and foremost".

– "A natural emulation between the different teams" according to Solène Le Grignou. With rivalry and frank camaraderie.

– Groups that have integrated all levels, from beginners to almost semi pro performance levels.

– Omnipresence and a very high coverage rate on social media during the 10 months of the Battle. And this only thanks to the activity of the runners.

– An important word of mouth, "only true indicator of campaigns that work" for Thierry Reboul.


A season 2 of the Boost Battle Run will be officially launched on April 8th. And if we can not tell you more for now, the operation of the Battle will evolve to generate a new storytelling that could be even richer and more effective. Until adidas declines this concept abroad?

Bonus: content created by Boost communities

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<p>The personality test: which #boostquartier are you? by # boostRepublic</p>
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The Runnerialist by #BoostBirHakeim


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