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GLITCH of Adidas: The hidden value of micro influencers


This is the story of a unique football boot concept and a new way of thinking the brand-customer relationship. This is the story of Glitch: a mobile app used to design the world’s fully interchangeable football boots. These new shoes, besides being top performing and extremely fashionable for football players, are entirely customizable, but the customization and purchase can be done only through the Glitch app.

“the ability for players to change their style whenever they want is something not seen before, so we had to reflect that in the way we launched the product.

Marc Makowski, Director Business Development Football, Adidas


Why so successful? The answer is “influencers”

The app is reaching consumers in a way that is breaking the traditional pattern. How? Using influencers.

260 youtubers and instagramers were given the freedom to invite their followers to access the app through exclusive promotional codes. Buyers of the shoes, in turn, receive other 10 unique codes to share in their own network. This means that the app is usable only by invitation from existing users and it is only a word of mouth mechanism that makes it spread around. Thanks to this new route to customers, no traditional advertising, no sponsorships, no endorsements were made necessary.


What effects and benefits?


Glitch was initially launched in the London area, in late 2016. The effect in the market was the following: more than 150,000 videos were created on YouTube, none made by Adidas itself. Results of this campaign for the brand were impressive too: 107K downloads, 75% sales conversion rate, 89% redemption rate on codes activated. Thanks to the fact that the model relies on the users themselves, Adidas is not making big investments in the marketing of the product.Moreover, the app only generates sales for Adidas and the returns of this strategy are considerable.


“It could be this [strategy] is redefining influencer marketing. It could be this becomes an Adidas insider tool for face to face communications or it could become a bad-ass loyalty program. It could be a combination of all three. That’s the beauty of it.”

Florian Alt, Senior Director of Global Brand Communications, Adidas


Inspiration for Glitch comes from the startups’ world, which means starting, with a narrow target and a small customer base, but scaling up quickly. Starting small has allowed Adidas to understand the potential demand and the timelines and effort required to open the app up to the public. Moreover, the app alters and advances as customer feedbacks and data are collected by the company.


Glitch micro-influencers : a new trend?

Glitch is setting the trend for a new sales model, the mobile commerce – m-commerce – model that goes beyond the e-commerce one. Indeed, apps allow the company to tie a direct relationship with consumers, bypassing powerful distribution channels such as Amazon. The key of this strategy is going beyond the large endorsements, treating the customer as the brand influencer and promoter of the product. But what are these influencers? They are content creators on the social media platforms that have from 1,000 to 100,000 followers and are able to engage these followers through their contents. These cannot be considered celebrities, nor they can be considered web professionals, since most of the times they don’t have enough financial returns from this activity to sustain themselves. However, they are able to modify and influence the opinions of their followers and establish enduring relationships with them.



Why this? The effectiveness of micro-influencers is the result of a transparent relationship with the followers and the creation of trust around the image of this social actors. Thus, the best micro-influencers are the ones who already consume the brand themselves. This builds trust in the relationship and makes the influencers’ audience feel there is an authentic connection.

What’s next? Having seen Glitch performance in London, Adidas has recently decided to adopt the same strategy also in Berlin and Paris. Would you like to try it? Adidas may enter soon in the Italian market, watch out and stay tuned, you can be one of the next lucky football-acholic to get GLITCH!


Written by: Erica Blotto

Edited by: Giulia Mattiol


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