How to teach an old T-Shirt new tricks​

In a recent post, I spoke about Lionel Messi and how his retirement from international football had sent shock waves through Argentina and through the football world as a whole.

What many people may not understand though is that it’s not the Argentina football team that stands to lose the most from Messi’s decision – although you could be forgiven for thinking that considering how good Messi is – it’s actually sportswear giants Adidas.


Before the Copa America final, Adidas had registered a decline in the volume of sales of their shirts and in their team licenses.

This is a trend that most would expect to continue as shirt sales with Messi on the back is one of Adidas’s biggest sellers. So, when you consider that both Argentina and Lionel Messi both have separate sponsorship deals with Adidas, it’s important to consider exactly what Adidas could lose out on as a result of Messi’s decision.

Firstly, at 29 years old, Messi would be in the picture to play in this summer’s Olympics in Rio and he could also be available for the next two World Cups – Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022). All 3 of these events represents a huge amount of brand exposure for Adidas which they would lose without having arguably the world’s best player on their books.

Repucom ahs previously said: “For over 20 years, Adidas have led the way in terms of the number of competing teams to be kitted out at the tournament. This year, nine of the 24 teams (37%) playing will have kits manufactured by the German sports giant, compared to Nike’s six (25%), Puma’s five (21%) and four (17%) being shared among other suppliers. Not only have Adidas been the number one kit supplier since Euro 16, but they have also been the kit supplier to every winning team (five) since that tournament. This has only helped to cement Adidas’ position as football’s top brand.” – Of course, this was until Portugal lifted the trophy this year.

For many years, Adidas has been in a huge battle with Nike for football supremacy. Messi and Argentina both being signed up to Adidas’s books has no doubt helped Adidas to be known as the number one in the world. This could also be the reason why Adidas reportedly offered to pay half of Messi’s $270million buy-out clause from Barcelona so he could sign for Chelsea two years ago. According to the reports, Adidas saw this as the perfect opportunity to take the best player in the world away from Nike partner Barcelona.

So, with the declining shirt sales and with Messi announcing his retirement from the international team, Adidas decided that it was time to be proactive and look to end the declining shirt sales by using the retirement to their advantage while also giving Messi a message.

How did they do this? They simply had the hashtag #NOTEVAYASLIO (translated as ‘Don’t Go Lio” printed onto the back of the Argentina home jersey.


And what was the result? Since the shirt was released it went on to be the most popular selling shirt in the continent and gave a new lease of life to a shirt that would surely have seen a massive dip in sales if Messi does decide to uphold his decision and retire.

what’s the motto? It always pays to be proactive and react to every situation and a quick and simple way to do this is by getting a T-Shirt printed. If something as easy as stamping a hashtag onto the back of a shirt can help boost the sales to such epic proportions – imagine what a carefully planned campaign could do for you.

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