Viktor switches from Yonex to adidas

d. 01-03-2013

After two years as a Yonex player, Viktor has now entered into a new and exciting relationship with the second-biggest sports brand in the world – adidas. Having been absent from the sport of badminton for decades, the famous German brand is now launching a high-powered return to the arena. Or, in the words of adidas itself, the company is going “All in for badminton”.

It is no secret that Viktor is proud and delighted that adidas has chosen him as ambassador for their completely new badminton range – a range of clothing and equipment in whose development adidas has invested millions, working with some of the most highly skilled engineers in the world. As a result, the collection is complete from Day 1 and features racquets, strings, shuttlecocks, shoes, clothing and bags.

The fact that the player representing the new collection  comes from Denmark is clearly reflected in the new collection, where the dominant colours are red and white.

Why has Viktor chosen to work with adidas?
“Because it’s new, exciting and – above all – different,” explains Viktor.

“Our sport is not exactly known for innovations, so when such a strong brand has finally succeeded in developing something really special, then it’s a matter of climbing aboard – and being proud to have been chosen.”

What is so special about adidas?
“There’s something about adidas that gets the blood pumping. Nothing else comes close to the effect of the three famous stripes. It’s a company that thinks carefully before making its move, and it’s great for our sport to get involved with a brand that also includes trendy streetwear. How cool is it to be able to walk around in something other than badminton clothes and still represent your sponsor …?”

What’s the best thing about adidas products?
“I’ve tested most of them in recent weeks. At the same time, however, it was important for me to remain 100% loyal to Yonex up to the official change-over, so I haven’t been able to test everything in depth up until now,” explains Viktor, who goes on to highlight the product for which he has the greatest expectations of all.

“To my mind, the shoes are far and away the best and coolest thing about the switch. If there’s one thing adidas knows, it’s how to develop and make shoes – and they’ve come up with something very special for badminton. My feet feel like they’re encased in a ‘protective shell’. It’s actually a bit hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it yourself, but after only a few tests, I just knew that the new shoes felt not only comfortable but absolutely ‘right’ on court.”

How has adidas tackled the launch up until now?
“Extremely professionally! One of the first things they did was to invite me to their headquarters in Germany, where they tested this lanky body of mine from head to toe. The most important part for them was my feet. They have a special lab where they take all kinds of pictures of your feet and then make 3D models of them. In fact, a model of my size 46’ers is currently decorating their headquarters in Germany,” says Viktor with a laugh.

He goes on to relate that it was a special experience to have his feet tested and photographed from every conceivable angle – and then see a life-size plastic model of them.

“The adidas specialists found out that my feet aren’t the same size. In other words, they gave me an explanation for why one of my big toe nails is usually black; it’s because it is always bumping into the toe end of my shoe. No other shoe manufacturer has picked up on that before. As a result, I’ll actually be running around in shoes of different sizes,” says Viktor with a broad grin.

What role has adidas picked out for you in its marketing?
“I went on a photo shoot here in Germany last Monday. They drove us out along the Ruhr river near Essen to meet one of their photographers in the freakiest photo studio you could think of. It’s an old disused factory building where the ceiling’s 30 metres high. There’s an old mobile crane and a stack of turbines that previously used the flowing water in the river to generate electricity.”

Viktor relates that the adidas advertising team started by making a series of recordings of him talking about the products. In English, of course.

“Then we carried on with some shots of me playing on a court they had set up for the occasion. After that, they had me play a ‘match’ with a famous rock musician from the local area. He played hard core rock on his guitar while I had to pretend my racquet was a guitar. It was a great experience – rock ’n’ roll in the spotlight and all that. But I think they could have stretched to a smoke machine …"

“To finish off, they had me leap up from a trampoline for a jumping smash and land on a thick mat. It looked like I was jumping way, way above the net – a pretty cool idea, I think. So as to the question about marketing … we’ve only just started, but it looks like it’ll be some of the coolest stuff that’s been seen in our sport for a very long time. And I can hardly wait!”

What are you most looking forward to in the working relationship?
“Having the opportunity to make a difference. Simple as that. And there cannot be any doubt that the sport of badminton could use a challenge from a strong brand such as adidas. A brand that has the muscle to work seriously with product development, and which dares to take a different approach to our rather conservative sport."

“At the same time, I must say that I’m really looking forward to working with a team of thoroughly professional people who want the best for a sport that they don’t actually know all that well at the moment, but who have done their homework so that they can get to know it better. It’s true that we could use a breath of fresh air, and this is why I am – to use adidas’ slogan for its new badminton line – ‘All in for a new game’!”

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Without whom I never would have made it this far! Thank you!