Adidas Knocks Under Armour Again With This Inspirational ‘One in a Billion’ Ad for China

And David Beckham pops in to say hi

Some in the Western world retain unfortunate stereotypes about China as a society that places little value on individuality, valuing loyalty to the state above all other things. 

Advertisers, in turn, have often approached the world's second largest economy with caution. For example, a 2008 Olympic-themed effort from Adidas illustrated Chinese consumers' sense of national pride in their team as the German sports apparel brand aimed to shore up a larger share of what remains a rapidly growing market. 

Yet young Chinese athletes are most definitely interested in expressing their own personalities, and Adidas' latest attempt to reach them appeals directly to that desire. It also pushes back against the Cold War-era man-or-machine narrative while simultaneously mocking one of the brand's chief rivals in the region.

Check out the new spot here: 

Under Armour fans will notice that the first scene in "One in a Billion" directly references UA's "Rule Yourself." In that Droga5 campaign from 2015, thousands of clones of Tom Brady, Misty Copeland, Steph Curry and others demonstrated the hard and often mindless work that goes into being a world-class athlete—doing the same thing over and over again in the endless pursuit of perfection. (This isn't the first time Adidas has taken a shot at UA's repetitive-training mind-set.) 

This first Chinese campaign from Adidas' new global lead creative agency, 72andSunny, goes a bit further in reminding viewers that every form of athleticism can double as an expression of one's individual style. These would-be stars aren't limited by sport, gender or even nationality. (Note the hard-to-miss cameo here by one David Beckham.) 

There's still plenty of homeland pride to be found in a spot that also features appearances by Olympic volleyball player Hui Ruo Qui and swimmer Ning Ze Tao. But the big message here is that Adidas can help young competitors be inviduals, too. 

So, why target Under Armour? That company's recently announced plans to capture a bigger portion of the Chinese market, currently dominated by Nike (and Adidas), might just have something to do with it.

CREDITS
Client: Adidas
VP, Global Brand Communications: Ryan Morlan
Senior Director, Global Brand Communications and Media: Lia Stierwalt ​
Director, Global Brand Communications: Jenny Chen
Senior Manager, Creative Production & Shoot: Eleanor Fitzgerald
VP, Brand Director Sports Performance – adidas China: Marc Leroux
VP, Brand Activation – adidas China: Philip Ho
Senior Director, Brand Communications – adidas China: Josephine Tsai
Director Brand Communications – adidas China: Lorna Luo
Manager Brand Communication Training – adidas China: Amy Fan

Featured in the Campaign
China National Volleyball Team Player: Hui Ruo Qui
China Olympic Swimmer: Ning Ze Tao
Former European Football Player: David Beckham

Agency: 72andSunny Los Angeles​ and 72andSunny New York
Chief Creative Officer, Co-Founder: Glenn Cole
Group Creative Director: Frank Hahn
Creative Director: Wei Wei Dong
Creative Director: Matthew Carey
Creative Technologist: Tim Grover
Writer: Ben Wiley
Designer: Brandon Mai
Chief Production Officer: Tom Dunlap
Executive Producer: Kerli Teo
Producer: Jenny Jones
Group Brand Director: James Stephens
Brand Director: Ryan Warner
Brand Manager: Brian Kim
Brand Coordinator: Brittany Allen
Group Strategy Director: Sudeep Gohil
Strategy Director: Ginger Xiang
Senior Strategist: Marc Pardy
Partnerships & Legal Director: Christina Rust
Partnerships & Legal Manager: Kelly Ventrelli
Junior Partnerships & Legal Manager: Noah Winter

Production:
Prettybird
Director: Max Malkin
Co-Founder / Executive Producer: Kerstin Emhoff
Vice President / Executive Producer: Ali Brown
Director of Production: Tracy Hauser
Producer: Matt Wersinger

Editorial:
Lost Planet NY
Editor: Bruce Herrman
Executive Producer: Krystn Wagenberg
Producer: Paolo Solarte

Sound Design:
Barking Owl
Sound Designer: Michael Anastasi
Executive Producer/ CD: Kelly Bayett
Producer: Ashley Benton

Finishing/VFX:
The Mill NY
Executive Producer: Melanie Wickham
Senior Producer: Eliana Carranza-Pitcher
Production Coordinator: Ashley Goodwin
Shoot Supervisor: Eliza Randall
2D Lead Artist: Ilia Mokhtareizadeh
2D Artists: Vi Nguyen, Andre Vidal, Mikey Smith, Kyle Zemborain
Motion Graphics: Laura Nash, Chris Mennuto

Color:
The Mill NY
Colorist: Mikey Rossiter
Color Assist: Nate Seymour and Elias Nousiopoulos
Executive Producer: Dee Allen
Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield
Color Coordinator: Evan Bauer

Mix
Heard City
Audio Mixer – Eric Warzecha
Audio Producer – Andi Lewis
Audio EP – Sasha Awn

Music
Apparat "Ash/Black Veil"
Music Supervision: Daniel Cross