Ever since adidas returned to producing all of Arsenal’s drip, the Christmas-time December release has been one to look forward to, as adidas produced not only retro clothing, but did so alongside a bespoke video release. This, of course, is different to the kit release every season, in part because the challenge of December releases is connecting the past to the present.
Every year, adidas rises to the challenge. But, some years are better than others, and so here is a definitive ranking of adidas’ December releases:
3. 2021; “It’s a 90s thing”
I feel bad about having anything that includes Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka with a young puppy as bottom of a list, but it mostly speaks to the quality of the other commercials. Now, this year’s version has some great details: the playing cards drawn by @cantdrawarsenal, as well as some truly gauche 90s details: the magenta walls in the home décor.
#2: 2019; “Yellow.”
The first December release has all of the ingredients. First of all, the bruised banana kit is included. Secondly, the song, “Hell n Back,” by Bakar, slaps, and the way Bakar is connected to Arsenal, through Héctor Bellerín is also superb. Finally, Ainsley Maitland-Niles wearing a bucket hat and an early 90s tracksuit jacket, with Leah Williamson wearing a yellow suit and the bruised banana kit is just Proper Arsenal Heritage to the extreme.
#1: 2020; “Then and Now.”
Last year’s commercial was a masterpiece. From the track, “Under Your Spell,” to it being Saturday night on AFC TV, turning the FM radio dial to 1990 in the floating car that Steve Bould and David Seaman are in, the details are stupendous. And that’s the first thirty seconds. The thing that makes this ad special is it feels like it speaks to the individuals; Tierney’s O’s, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being a host on a game show, and Vivianne Miedema wearing a button up that has “The G.O.A.T” on it as she wins the darts. There are also the names of the cafés and bars on “The Holloway Road,” that speak to the history of this football club. Everything is referential and memeable, like Steph Catley’s reaction to David Seaman’s statue, but in a good way. Time and time again it refers to things that have been passed down through time at this football club, that we all begin to imbibe even if we weren’t alive. It is, I’m afraid, one of the most Proper Arsenal things to have ever been produced, and that’s before we get to Ian Wright. The gear’s not half bad either.