New Balance retain Ear to the Ground as Global Football Partner

New Balance Football has appointed Ear to the Ground as global retained lead agency, following a competitive pitch process.

Ear to the Ground was selected earlier this year to develop the New Balance global football strategy and creative roll-out; defining the brand’s next chapter in 2021 and beyond.

The new relationship looks to make serious gains against New Balance’s competitors and stand out with a unique, ownable position that engages sought after culturally led youth football audiences.

Centred around the agency’s insight-driven Fan Intelligence model, Ear to the Ground has built a collective of highly creative and influential tastemakers who will exclusively consult for New Balance Football. As part of the Fan Intelligence model, these hand-picked individuals will collaborate and co-create to help build long-term brand strategies, as well as more tactical campaign activity.

Nicola Jones, Senior Marketing Manager for New Balance Football globally, said: “We chose to work with Ear to the Ground as we wanted a partner who could bring us closer to our target youth football and culture audience.

“Fan Intelligence is an innovative solution to the traditional agency model. We see this approach taking New Balance Football into a bold new space: one that only we could own because of our fearlessly independent attitude, and our willingness to shape the brand around our athletes.”

New Balance has nurtured excellent relationships with its family of athletes and see the unique value in how each individual helps to tell the brand story. Just last month, New Balance Football launched an OOH campaign to celebrate Rose Lavelle’s transatlantic move from Washington Spirit to Manchester City. As the first piece of creative work created by Ear to the Ground, New Balance took over the city with a poetic player tribute to welcome ‘Manchester’s Rose’.

African Player of the Year, Premier League Champion and World Club Cup Champion, Sadio Mané also forms part of the global athlete family, along with club assets FC Porto, Athletic Club Bilbao and LOSC LILLE.

Richard Adelsberg, Managing Director at Ear to the Ground, says: “New Balance is a dream client because they embody our independent attitude and have totally bought into the value of Fan Intelligence.

“It’s been an exciting moment to celebrate with Rose, New Balance and the team here at Ear to the Ground. If this year has shown us anything, it’s that fans and players have been really affected by the dramatic changes that have affected the game. By listening to our Fan Intelligence Network, the team created a campaign that connected the brand on a cultural level, whilst also helping Rose to feel right at home in a city she is yet to explore.”

Being tuned into the shifting attitudes and behaviours of over 11,000 fans and cultural tastemakers worldwide, Ear to the Ground has had further wins this year with new growth across its global client roster and senior hires made across the business.

Adelsberg continues: “We feel fortunate to have grown the business in this challenging year. I’m extremely proud that our investment into Fan Intelligence is really paying off with a 2020 football roster that now includes international clients such as PlayStation, Beats by Dre, New Balance, UEFA and Arsenal.”

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