This high-tech soccer jersey changes colors so fans of rival teams don’t beat you up
By Melissa Locker of FASTCOMPANY
When it comes to soccer, the fans at the Women’s World Cup are pretty civil. But head to, for instance, Argentina, and it’s a different story, as the intense rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate has erupted into violence on multiple occasions. They aren’t alone in their ardent support for their team: The Flamengo v. Fluminense game in Rio de Janeiro is known for zealous passion; Liverpool fans love to hate Manchester United; and let’s just say you would not want to be caught in a Roma jersey in Lazio territory when those two Italian teams face off.
Luckily, technology can help make life a little easier for soccer fans. The Brazilian branch of the Leo Burnett creative agency has developed a jersey that has a creative way of keeping fans safe: Thanks to a high-tech combination of fabric, pigments, and GPS, the jersey goes from a neutral design to team colors. It lets fans walk into the stadium in peace and only flash their true fan colors when they’re safely in the stadium. The total transformation of the jersey takes around one minute.
The creative minds at the agency devised the jersey because Brazil has a fierce and occasionally violent soccer culture, leading to the world’s highest rate of football-related deaths. Over the course of 2018’s 38-week soccer season, there were 144 violent fights around the stadiums that lead to 19 deaths. To help curb the violence, Leo Burnett developed the Camouflage Jersey.
"The main idea behind the jersey is to bring awareness about how serious the problem of violence among supporters has become," Wilson Mateos, VP Creative/ECD at Leo Burnett Brazil, said in an email. "The jersey is an icon of this situation, intending to spark a reflection like 'Would we let the situation comes this far?"
The jersey was developed in the official colors of Esporte Clube Bahia, who put the jersey in their stadium’s store. It is currently sold as a collectible item, a very limited edition, with the profits going to finance anti-violence initiatives.
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