This television ad for the Adidas F50 ‘adizero’ football shoes makes connections between three different signifiers – the pro footballers (Messi and Villa) the product, a speeding car, and the product. What is signified is the fact that all these things, especially the product is “lighter and faster”.
Messi and Villa within the football culture are icons of speed, fleet-footedness, and technical genius. The ad enhances and reinforces this sign system through shots of Messi evading and speeding past defenders who reach out to catch him in vain. Villa sprints past immobile defenders and scores a spectacular goal. This existing sign system is appropriated to speak of the product in terms of the same relationship so the shoes (signifier) can represent speed and talent in football (signified). The car comes with its own sign system also, with its image representing speed, luxury, and machismo. The shoes also represent luxury in its connection to not only the car, but also Messi and Villa – only the best footballers wear these shoes.
Not only is the connection made by having these placed within the same ad, but a series of editing techniques further establishes the relationship between the signifiers as well. Shots of the shoes, Messi/Villa, and the car all cut back and forth between each other showing the different signifiers speeding off in same directions, streaks of colour trailing behind them in similar manners, even at one point the shot of Messi being overlaid on top of the shot of the car to establish the connection further.
In this “contest of speed”, Messi and Villa are “both armed with a new weapon” which is “lighter and faster than anything that’s come before” according to the narrator. However, the shoes will not make an individual a faster or better athlete. The outcome of the contest would not change if they were wearing Nike shoes, Puma shoes, or Diadora shoes. In fact, the ad does not even explain why or how these shoes are better, or what exact material properties of the product makes them superior, and rather, concentrate on the product’s sign value and make a natural claim that the shoes are lighter, faster, and superior.
Courtney from Study Moose
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