New Balance and Roma mark partnership launch with AR activation

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

New Balance and AS Roma have unveiled their new sponsorship with the launch of a new digital augmented reality campaign.

Announcing New Balance their new Official Kit Supplier from the beginning of the 2021/22 season, the Serie A giants posted a new gaming-inspired activation to transport fans into the heart of Rome and enable the Roma fanbase to play their part in kicking off the new sponsorship.

As part of the brand’s first entry into the Italian football club market, New Balance Football collaborated with Creative Partner Ear to the Ground, and the agency’s Fan Intelligence approach, to deliver the digital-led campaign aimed at crossing over into global youth football culture.

Using advanced AR development, Run Roma takes fans to the busy city of Rome on Instagram where they can race through the streets, collect club assets and avoid obstacles to unlock the new sponsorship announcement.

Run Roma is supported by a variety of high-profile Roma fans, such as Riccardo Mandolini, Cecilia Cantarano, and Italian rapper, Gemello, as well as influential grassroots footballers from around the world like East London’s Baiteze Squad.

“This is a landmark sponsorship for us and an extremely exciting moment for New Balance Football,” said Nicola Jones, Global Senior Marketing Manager, New Balance Football.

“At New Balance we always think and act uniquely, ensuring fans are at the heart of everything we do. Tapping into Fan Intelligence allowed us to enter a new space with AS Roma from the outset; reinventing how to announce a new club sponsorship on social whilst injecting fun into the campaign. We look forward to launching the first ever New Balance and AS Roma bespoke kits in the summer”.

Independent creative agency, Ear to the Ground, was last year appointed to lead New Balance Football’s global strategies and creative, using their Fan Intelligence model to consult and co-create ideas with ‘culturally led’ fans. 

Richard Adelsberg, Managing Director at Ear to the Ground, added: “Engagement with AR game filters has rocketed amongst youth audiences in recent months and off the back of Fan Intelligence, we realised that we needed to bring A.S. Roma fans closer to the city and club they miss greatly - so we landed on a digital idea ‘Run Roma’ which is grounded in the streets of Rome and connects the club’s vast fanbase around the world”.

The official announcement was made on Roma’s Instagram, where the game is accessed.