Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Branded content, Integrated marketing



Since first launching the Blackout Squad back in 2015, our challenge this year was to evolve the campaign and motivate a new audience of grassroots aspiring pros to create their own UGC content and spread the word about the brand.



Our core audience of 17-year-old serious aspirers are avid consumers of football-related content on social media. Getting exclusive access and money-can’t-buy experiences make them feel like the pro they aspire to be.




We ran a global competition to recruit a squad of influential grassroots players who could earn a one-year “contract” in the New Balance Blackout Squad.

They had to be passionate about the game, vocal and influential on social media and willing to spread the word about New Balance Football. In return, they would receive exclusive pre-release product drops at the same time as our NB Football professionals.

To drive awareness of the newest squad opening, we used social media influencer Craig Mitch and NB Football professionals to kick off the campaign with a call to arms for players to break into the Blackout Squad.

We asked our recruits to submit a video of themselves completing one of our three entry challenges using the #NBBlackoutSquad. To make it through to the next stage, we created a voting mechanic to encourage friends, family and followers on social media to vote for them at The top 60 entrants with the most votes were then selected into the global Blackout Squad.


  • Exceeded engagement targets with over 16.5k entries from over 166 countries and amassed over 41k votes

  • 2,213,323 views of global content to date

  • Helped the brand’s exposure for player and club assets with a combined reach of 5,293,201 consumers

  • Positive sentiment was gained with our core serious aspirer audience

  • Engagement elevated to interest amongst existing football influencers with large social reach who were requesting to be involved

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