Bush and Becks compare notes for Adidas

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A new Adidas campaign from 180 marks the American debut of soccer star David Beckham and of the agency itself—the effort is the first major creative offering from 180's new Santa Monica office.

"Futbol meets Football" brings the two titular sports and two of each sport's biggest stars together, with New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush spending some quality field time with Beckham, who starts his U.S. career with the L.A. Galaxy this summer. The two fit, photogenic fellows hung out for an entire day and tackled the particulars of each other's game for the cameras. The campaign was inspired by 180 Amsterdam's popular (in Europe, that is) "Kicking It," which featured Beckham larking on a field with his rugby counterpart, Johnny Wilkinson. In "Futbol Meets Football," Beckham tries his hand at tossing the pigskin with less than stellar results, though proves more handy with his feet, landing field goals with ease, while Bush deftly grabs a soccer ball pass kicked by Beckham and demonstrates some respectable keepy-uppy. The highlight, though, may be Beckham and Bush running pass plays, with the former in full Saints uniform and equipment. The meeting yielded two hours of content which was cut into about 15 documentary style web films. The clips will run on the adidas site (www.futbolmeetsfootball.com) as well as enjoying viral distribution as sports outlets pick up the story and run clips on their broadcast and online channels. 180 ECD William Gelner says the meeting of the minds was unscripted—to allow the athletes' personalities to come through and to avoid an overly glossy spot feel. "This was more of an experience, as opposed to what you'd think of as a marketing campaign," says Gelner, "in the sense that we made it more about two legends in sports coming together and just allowing them to interact with each other." The campaign also includes still shots by Pulitzer Prize winner David Turnley.

Gelner says the campaign carries on the theme—demonstrated in the most recent "Impossible is Nothing" campaign—of "not putting athletes on pedestals like superheroes, but treating them as real human beings, getting into their personal journeys."

The campaign comes as Gelner continues to staff up the newly launched 180 L.A. and as the shop enters production on its first big brand work for Sony, on which the agency shares creative duties with BBDO New York Gelner says the collaborative spirit that has marked180's relationships with agency partners like BBDO and TBWA informs the Amsterdam/L.A. dynamic. "We refer to 180 LA and Amsterdam as one agency with two doors—it's been working so far. There is a nine hour time difference which means we can kick the ball and when our day is over they get up and pick it up." The L.A. office is now about 35 strong—recent additions include former CP+B creatives Amir Farhang, Jason Ambrose and Donnell Johnson and Goodby alum Tyler Hampton, who has assumed CD duties on Sony. Gelner says the agency is looking to cultivate the storied multiculturalism of the Amsterdam office, where "you walk in an immediately you see that pretty much every nationality is represented. It's a little harder to do in L.A. but we've started," says Gelner. "It's not just that we want to be the UN, it makes the work better for clients, you get work that travels."
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