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Swedish sports brand blurs faces of pro-athletes to prevent them breaching sponsorship contracts


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

July 10, 2019 | 3 min read

Swedish sports nutrition company Maurten has secured pro-athlete endorsement by blurring out their faces to help them avoid breaking rival sponsorship agreements.


Sports nutrition brand anonymizes athletes religiously breaching sponsor deals to use it

Maurten says that athletes like Mo Farah, Eliud Kipchoge, Mary Keitany and Jan Frodeno use its products officially, but a greater number of sporting pros use it in an unofficial capacity despite being sponsored by larger brands in the category.

Philip Ahlqwist, head of brand at Maurten, explained: “It's a fact, many athletes use our products under the radar, as they are officially sponsored by some other brand. For example, there are several other teams than the ones we cooperate with that use our products on the UCI World Tour, but unofficially. The same goes for triathlon and ultra-running.

“While most brands would be disappointed that their product is not receiving all the exposure it could, we are not. To us, the athletes and their performance always come first. To prove this and create real value for them in one single action, we created Maurten Unofficial. And since we know that there’s a real demand for this, it makes it more than just a clever advertising campaign."


Acknowledging this trend Sweden’s Åkestam Holst and production company Halal have delivered the subversive spot for the nutrition start-up but it follows through into product packaging too. It has developed unbranded, incognito goods (that are still fairly recognisable) for elite athletes who want to be a bit more discrete when cheating on a sponsor.

Director Madja Amin said that the concept stood out “straightaway”.

”It’s such a creative and different approach with a powerful yet simple idea at the core".

Helping the campaign was the fact that with “tons of freedom, [they] had the chance to go crazy”.

“Utilizing the energy of the athletes, playing on the familiar look-and-feel of a sports ad with the cleverness in approach to highlight the anonymous product line, provides for an extraordinary viewing experience."

The Unofficial product line is available for a limited time.

Vote for the campaign below in The Drum's Creative Works.

Unofficial by Åkestam Holst

Overall Rating 5/5

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