A breeze whips through a grate on a city street, and a leggy blonde holds onto her skirt to keep it from billowing up. But instead of high-heeled sandals, she's wearing Adidas sneakers. And instead of Marilyn Monroe, the sex symbol in question is Anna Kournikova.
The tennis starlet appears in one of three spots from Amsterdam shop 180 launching Adidas' new ClimaCool athletic shoe. It's the first new campaign from the German client since it consolidated its $100 million global account with the team of 180 and TBWA in January. The ClimaCool campaign, with spending of $20 million, was in 180's pipeline before it partnered with TBWA, which played no role in this effort.
The campaign, which includes print and outdoor components, will also run in Europe, Latin America and Asia. The TV work breaks today. Neil Simpson, svp and head of global brand concepts and advertising at Adidas, calls the campaign "one of the company's biggest initiatives ever."
Each 30-second spot closes with a cameo appearance by an Adidas athlete. In addition to Kournikova, there's Brit ish soccer star David Beck ham and Australian swimming champion Ian Thorpe.
"There are only a finite number of people who are internationally recognized," says Simpson. "ClimaCool spans the sporting and lifestyle categories. We wanted young athletes with a modern look who transcended their sport."
The focal point of each commercial, however, is a light breeze, which illustrates the tagline, "Feel the breeze." ClimaCool is designed to keep the wearer's feet cool and dry using ventilation and moisture-control fabrics.
Kournikova's spot shows a young woman blowing a kiss at a man in a hotel lobby. The breeze from the kiss speeds past him, snagging a $5 bill in the process, and blows through a grate in the sidewalk and into a subway station. After a woman's scarf blows off, the breeze goes back to street level through another grate and enters the sole of Kour nikova's sneaker. A view from inside the sneaker is briefly shown, and then the breeze moves up her leg and lifts her skirt, her hair blowing in the wind.
"[Kournikova] was an absolute dream to work with," says Nick Mor ris, executive producer and co-owner of Academy, the London company that produced the campaign. Her presence on the set caused a stir, he says, and "crowds kept gathering" at the 11-day Los Angeles shoot.
Beckham is featured in "Raft." A breeze created by an exploding inflatable raft rushes through a girl's shoe, whips off her hat and floats past a lingerie model surrounded by fake snow. It picks up some snow, which gets deposited on Beckham's car. He smiles, climbs in and turns on his wipers.
Stuntmen, cameras strapped to skateboards and computer graphics were used to create the look and feel of following a fast-moving breeze around a city. To capture the shot of the hat falling over the side of the building, a cameraman had to plunge off the building attached to a wire.
Music helps create the ads' lighthearted tone. For Thorpe's spot, in which he body-surfs over a crowd, creatives picked the alt-rock track "Look Who's Perfect Now" by Transistor. Kournikova's spot uses the sensual "Beautiful, Crazy" by the Space Raiders. "Raft" features the Stranglers' 1970s funk hit "Peaches."
"The shoes themselves are technically sound but fun," says Peter McHugh, creative director for the campaign. "The look needed to be colorful and accessible with a lot of movement—the music speaks to that as well. The creative team listened to many hundreds of songs