Adidas Debuts Image Ads

TV Spots Celebrate Devotion of Everyday Athletes
SAN FRANCISCO-Leagas Delaney recruited two high school basketball teams to replay their championship game as part of a new national image campaign for Adidas America. It is the brand’s first umbrella branding initiative since it was relaunched in the U.S. six years ago.
The bulk of the estimated $20-30 million TV campaign will break June 12 and air through mid-July. The tagline is “Long live sport.”
The ads will run during sports telecasts and programs on Fox and other networks that target teens and young adults, said officials at the San Francisco agency.
Comprised of eight to 10 spots produced in a documentary-style format, the work takes a different approach than most traditional sports brand advertising. There is no narration, dialogue, music, actors, famous athletes or overt humor. Most of the ads feature amateur athletes or mascots, and slowly reveal their devotion to sport, said Sean Ehringer, agency partner and creative director.
As viewers discover the meaning of each scene, the tagline and Adidas logo are flashed on the screen.
The basketball ad focuses on the emotional antics of one bench player as he watches his team narrowly win the game. His team lost the original game, Ehringer said, adding that “we didn’t know what would happen in the second game. … We were really glad they won.”
Other spots in the campaign include one documenting a swimmer’s pre-competition head-shaving ritual, only revealing at the end that the swimmer is female. Another shows close-ups of a woman running on a track, and later pulls back to reveal that her legs are artificial.
Adidas-Salomon AG is running a separate global image campaign outside the U.S. from 180 Communications, Amsterdam, with a different tagline [Adweek, April 26]. Since the Adidas brand has a different identity in the U.S. than elsewhere in the world the client’s U.S. division decided to pass on 180’s more traditional anthem ads in favor of Leagas’ image initiative, sources said. ƒ