Cannes Lions

adidas: The Tango Squad FC

WE ARE SOCIAL, London / ADIDAS / 2018

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To resolve this challenge, we created Tango Squad F.C.

The world’s first brand-owned influencer football team.

An idea inspired by two insights.

Firstly, a cultural insight around the surge of social football teams on YouTube.

Where groups of players share both amateur football games and life behind-the-scenes with their growing audience bases.

Secondly, a consumer insight around an audience desire to raise their status from the ground up.

Consumers don’t want to achieve fame copying Messi or Pogba, they want to do it by being themselves.

We combined these insights to create Tango Squad F.C.

A fly-on-the-wall documentary series showing the sixteen best Tango Squad players on their journey towards football fame.

A journey where adidas gives these influencers access to, and mentorship from, the best teams and players in Europe.

A journey to social stardom with highs and lows, coached by World Cup winner Xabi Alonso.


To position Tango Squad F.C. as the perfect platform to drive authenticity and accessibility, our creative execution was designed to show how 16 players can become football famous.

To have a compelling narrative about their journey, we borrowed principles and tropes from TV and film but optimised them for social.

We created a ground-breaking 12 episode series for YouTube in an era of shortening attention spans.

Although each episode was 10-20 minutes long, we used quick cuts, increased cadence and added sporting drama to turn an established format into something more lean in.

This was supplemented via mentors from adidas such as Xabi Alonso, Paul Pogba and James Rodriguez and by harnessing the full access of adidas-sponsored clubs like Manchester United.

Lastly, the team even played matches against the Real Madrid feeder team and influencer team F2FC to further increase hype and reach across social.


The series had a total cross-platform reach of 20.5m views, with 7.4M unique viewers on YouTube alone.

Each episode was between 9 and 17 mins long which drove 34.5M minutes of viewed content with an average retention rate of 43% (rising to 52% across the top 5 English speaking markets).

Our 16 micro-influencers drove 380,000 views from just 262,000 followers.

As proof of their influence, Tango Squad F.C. manager Xabi Alonso drove only 415,000 views from over 15 million followers.

Our micro-influencers grew their social followings by 66k followers, an average increase of 44.6%, with Jack Downer enjoying 62.3% growth.

Our micro-influencers achieved the football fame we set out to give them. They were stopped for selfies, appeared in adidas TV ads and fronted product ranges.

We recruited the next generation of the Tango Squad FC with 19,568 new sign-ups.

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