While putting the final touches on the adidas Super Bowl VIP hospitality suite just before opening in Houston, TX, I stopped to check my email. I popped open an Adweek article about the current age of the “authentic branded experience”, and despite the fact that it’s a mantra thrown around in marketing circles on the daily, it’s a term that lacks clarity. Instead of using this ambiguous phrase, the writer suggested those of us on the agency side ask clients to be intentional about what they want to achieve, and, “Commit to creating your own space, not finding space within your competition.”

The timing on this article seemed surreal. Looking around at the adidas space all set up and ready for guests, I felt proud of what adidas and ETZEL achieved. Every element in the space came together to create a place that could only have been created for adidas. The environment was inviting, comfortable and functioned in exactly the manner that was defined at the outset. How did we get here? We started with the right intention.

When adidas came to ETZEL, the message was clear: create an inviting space for hosting VIP guests during the Super Bowl, showcase our new-to-launch cleat and remain true to the adidas style. We started by doing our research.

First, the space. We visited Houston to find the perfect environment, and after months of negotiating, we locked down a building. A brand new warehouse located just minutes from the NFL action, its white-washed brick walls, and clean, industrial feel seemed to have been made for the brand.

Next, the design. We dug into the functional needs of a VIP space—a unique style to draw people in, a vibe that matched the excitement of Super Bowl week, a comfortable setting with room for conversation. Style inspiration came from adidas footwear, apparel and the brand’s urban, industrial tone. Every element in the concept had a purpose—from the cubes on the walls and chrome accents reflecting a Warhol-esque art studio, to the futuristic lighting—inviting guests to stay and participate with the products.

Finally, production. The flawless implementation of the creative design is crucial in creating a dynamic space. On Thursday morning, our hard work was put to the ultimate test when we opened the doors. Celebrity athletes and entertainers arrived, feeling right at home, while the adidas’ team of social media curators, photographers, videographers and creative directors captured and pushed out content all three days. Media outlets interviewed the VIP guests, generating even more exposure for what was now called the “adidas pop up shop”. Word was out that this was the spot to be, and people were enjoying themselves. View for yourself @adidasfootballus

images ©adidasfootballus

images ©adidasfootballus

Friday and Saturday, the momentum continued as guests and adidas reps celebrated the new Silver Ultra Boost Cleats until doors closed well after the anticipated wrap up time.

The firepower from the adidas team, the thoughtful space design, and a hard-working producers on the ground made this event a success.

Last year, we helped adidas premiere this event experience at the Super Bowl in San Francisco. By the thousands of likes on Instagram, numerous articles published, and guests’ reactions, the Super Bowl LI VIP suite made an even bigger and bolder statement. But at the end of the day, I give this event a big gold star because of the thoughtfulness and trusting partnership between adidas and ETZEL to create a space that pushed the limits and exceeded expectations.

- Lauren Ditscheit, Senior Project Manager

ETZEL AgencyComment