I wrote in my last blog about how Adidas is bringing several of its old concepts for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup. I wrote about how the German national team brought back the designs of the kit from the 1990 World Cup and the “Telstar” Ball returned since the 1970 World Cup with slight modifications. However, those do not feel too nostalgic for me because I was born 6 years after the 1990 World Cup, so it personally feels more like a history lesson or a remake of a great Hollywood film. However, Adidas has also brought back “Predator,” which I feel strongly nostalgic of.
1. What is Predator?
For those who do not pay close attention to soccer shoes in general, Predator is a type of soccer boots designed by Adidas. The common features of Predator were the presence of rubber patches or strips on the top of the shoe, which are made to increase friction between the boot and the ball. The Predator was designed by a former Australian soccer player named Craig Johnston. While he was coaching a group of schoolboys, he thought of the idea of using rubber, instead of leather, to help control the ball. There are many variations of the Predator, such as Rapier (1994), Touch (1996), Pulse, (2004), but they were discontinued in 2015. As the technology improved, the players preferred fluorescent, light-weighted carbon slippers.
This was rather sad, including me, for those who wore this when playing soccer and many of the huge superstars wore this pair of shoes during soccer matches. Of course back then we could only get information about Predator from television commercials or magazines, but Predator had such a huge impact to a point where when talking about iconic shoes, many people refer to Predator, as the word “Predator” hits them hard right at their hearts. Now that marketing thrives on social media, Adidas has brought back the old to the new generation to not only bring nostalgia, but also to adapt to the modern game.
2. The Changes
It would be bad for Adidas to reintroduce Predator with the same old design and same old characteristics that would not last against better and modernized shoes today, so Adidas has brought back the old with a new feeling.
One of the main changes is that Adidas has emphasized more on ball control for its shoes. Sure, Predator back then were designed to improve ball control, but the game then and game now are completely different because the game back then had required the players to be more risky with the individual brilliance, long shots or long passes, regardless of how good or bad your ball controlling abilities, and the game now requires all the players, including the goalkeeper, to have great ball control to perfectly master the game, as the tactics have changed greatly from the time when the Predator boots were released for the first time. The shoes are generally made to be comfortable, as one of the main examples is having no laces, showing that the Predator has evolved and is re-energized.
3. The Reactions
I grew up watching soccer players mainly from early to mid-2000s, so the reintroduction of Predator was something huge for not just me, but also for soccer enthusiasts who grew up in the same generation as I did or even before. Soccer greats like Michael Ballack, Steven Gerrard, and Zinedine Zidane, wore these shoes and one of the players, Zinedine Zidane, is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and his name is often there in those “top 5 all time greats” lists. For those who is not completely aware of who Zidane is, his ex-teammate David Beckham was one of the first to upload the boots on Instagram and the rest followed.
Scrolling through those comments on both of these accounts, I find the reactions to be positive as Adidas has brought icons of the game, whom we admired, to reintroduce the boots that they wore 12 years before and for me, those two icons revealing the boots was a nostalgic feel trip.
Like with video games, cars and other items, there were reviews on YouTube, but it has come with mixed reactions, while the video was positive. Users FreeKicksPT and Puki Beck have said, “Who else thinks that this is the coolest soccer hall ever seen?!;)” and “Good job from adidas! They look amazing! Great review :D.” However, some have lamented the fact that Adidas has killed off one of its shoes-Ace, and some has said that there is nothing different with the modern shoes today with users Andrew Hilton and Alex Siemian saying “Rip the Ace 2015-2017” and “This isn’t a predator to me. It’s an Ace 2018… nice try Adidas.”
Even though Adidas has worked wonders with the reintroduction of old ideas for the upcoming 2018 World Cup, the shoes met with mixed reactions. Although I feel reintroduction of an old idea with the mix of new ideas is generally good, despite the lack of differences with ideas today, it is also important to not lose the identity of the idea, as Predator, to some people, has become the Ace 2018. For marketers today when re-releasing something old, it is important to re-release something that will not lose its identity, yet have new and positive ideas.