4 Influencers Break Away From a Dystopian Future in Adidas’ Edgy New Campaign

Spots encourage next generation to build their own world

Headshot of Christine Birkner

Adidas invites sneaker fans to build their own futures by breaking away from a dystopian world in an edgy new campaign for Adidas Originals. The spot depicts four brand influencers—lifestyle blogger and model Aleali May, Cleveland Cavaliers' Iman Shumpert, singer and DJ Kyu Steed and artist Design Butler—trekking through gritty, dark, post-apocalyptic city streets complete with gangs and trash-can fires, and eventually through a prismatic tunnel into a brighter future. 

Terence Neale filmed the campaign, by creative agency Johannes Leonardo, in various locations throughout Europe and Africa. 

"It's an edgy and authentic way of showing them marching to that vanishing point, which is representing the future. We're asking consumers to focus and create their own future, and not look back," said Brandon Beaty, director of brand communications for Originals. Still images where shot by Pieter Hugo, and Adidas also worked with photographers Tyrone Lebon and Oliver Hadlee Pearch on the effort.

"Every piece of entertainment and news story out there is depicting a future with no hope. This is what our idea pushes against," said Ferdinando Verderi, founding member and creative director of Johannes Leonardo. The video below is set to music by Daisy Hamel-Buffa, who sings, "I'm never gonna fall in line. Your future is not mine."

Last year, Adidas' "Superstars" campaign featuring Pharrell explored whether fame was necessary for stardom. "In 2015, we challenged the idea of what it meant to be a superstar. In 2016, we're challenging the idea of what it means to create your own future," Beaty said.

Adidas is maintaining its relationships with Pharrell and Kanye West, who collaborated with the brand on the YEEZY sneaker line.

"We're not steering away from partnering with people who fit the DNA of the brand. Kanye changed the conversation; same thing with Pharrell. The creativity he brings complements what we want to do perfectly," Beaty said. "We're targeting that teenage consumer. Our female business has never been more energized, not only financially but from an adoption and culture standpoint. Street culture is a playing field that we're a part of, and we have to do that by listening to our consumers and being disruptive in pushing the status quo."

@ChristineBirkne christine.birkner@adweek.com Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.