Source: adidas Originals Arkyn Campaign
In the last two years I’ve had the pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time analyzing adidas marketing campaigns. The material was so textured and layered that each release of marketing from the brand felt less like someone trying to sell something and more like a brand that needed to make a statement. adidas felt honest, bold, diverse, dark, edgy, confrontational and it freaking worked. It did help that we were in the midst of police brutality (we are still there) and a campaign that saw a man be elected who might be the most misogynistic, unpresidential ‘President’ ever. The air was thick with change and kids were making a stand politically (we are still there as well).
Lately the campaigns from adidas have been far too safe and while the brand and everyone is touting the growth the company has seen, what I’m witnessing on a micro level is a slow down. In my own e-commerce ventures I haven’t spent a dime on adidas in months. I’ve witnessed adidas be moved from the front of store in Foot Locker and in Finish Line to the back of store. I’ve witnessed an extensive markdown of adidas footwear that has seen new release adidas models reduced to as low as 59.99 for 130.00 dollar shoes. When adidas was growing and breaking out it was directly related to marketing in my opinion and I can support that with evidence from the brands video campaigns. This new Arkyn Campaign features Kendall Jenner and 4 other influencers. The fact that I mentioned Kylie Jenner is important here because when adidas chose to use her last year it created a backlash on social sites and video sites. I wrote about it here:
In the article above I wrote these words about the 3rd video in the “Finished” series: “This time it may have the views, but it’s lazy and not focusing on the product isn’t dope, it’s just “meh”. You may have generated discussion, but this could be a sign of the brand becoming complacent. I hope it isn’t because their campaigns are forcing other brands to step up and we all need that.”
This was in August. As the year moved forward and we entered 2018 I began seeing a serious slowdown in third party sales and resale. Resale is a harbinger. I’ve been able to predict slow downs in the market based on resale and adidas has fought hard to gain the ground they’ve won. The big growth they’ve seen is a result of a concentrated effort to focus on North America. The problem is once the initial push is over, what does a company due to maintain? This is where adidas is.
I realize that I’ve spent this entire post establishing a position and I haven’t said a word about the Arkyn Campaign and if I think it is going to be effective in connecting. The concept is very good. Unlike the last two years, however, it is far too safe. Kendall Jenner may be a major influencer capable of changing the stock value of a social website, but the growth adidas experienced was about their radical and subversive moves and imagery. It was in your face and aggressive. Had the four influencers (there are five, but I wouldn’t have included Jenner) included in this campaign been given the opportunity to be in their element and the focus was on them solely with a push of marketing behind a series based solely on them, it would have felt more organic. I am interested in the Arkyn Icons of 2018, but like the Originals “Never Finished” campaign’s 3rd spot, using Jenner feels like a safe bet that is less about confrontation and more about using someone popular. The music here is too easy, the layout is too easy, the feel is too easy… adidas has had one miss in the last few weeks with Deerupt and this is better, but it feels too easy. The video is below and the Icons for 2018 are listed as well.