Shirt releases typically follow a predictable pattern, but adidas have mixed things up in a brilliant way this year with the new Lyon home shirt.
Back in April, a photo of Lucas Paquetá ‘accidentally’ leaking the 2021 Lyon home shirt was doing the rounds on social media. The shot, taken from Paquetá’s Instagram, quickly gained traction before being removed, but in hindsight the leak was not so much accidental but rather one component of an elaborate marketing stunt from adidas France.
Following the official launch on the last day of the Ligue 1 season, adidas have surprised everyone by sending a free Lyon shirt to people who had leaked the kit last April. As if that wasn’t enough, the shirt came packaged in a bespoke box telling the story of the campaign with a mock Instagram story frame on the front and several tweets on the inside cover.
It’s worth saying also that there appeared to be a range of people who were sent a free shirt, from relatively big accounts to ‘smaller’ profiles and individuals. Some shirts were sent even to people who just replied to posts from big accounts sharing the leaks, which implies that this was a genuine surprise for the various people who received a kit.
Many people have discussed the proliferation of leaks over recent seasons, suggesting that brands deliberately share designs to gauge reaction and even make final tweaks before a final release. The arguments have become increasingly convincing, given the quality of many of the leaks and the fact we sometimes see information well over a year before an eventual release, and this adidas x Lyon campaign is one of the clearest signs yet that brands do pay active attention to the leaks of their kits.
All credit to adidas France for the execution of the campaign, and for the shirt itself which is one of the best Lyon have had since the 00s.