It’s no secret that I’ve been paying very close attention to adidas’ growth as a brand in the past year. It’s also no secret that I thought a lot of the success could be contributed to an ingenious campaign that made one of the oldest sneaker companies an ally to a generation that didn’t want anything to do with the current political and social environment of their parents.
The Future campaign was groundbreaking in the way the product was placed within the context of the narrative. It wasn’t intrusive. The way the video was shot was an organic middle finger to the establishment. I mean think about it… the brand ran the Future right after the final presidential debate in 2016!
People were on edge. We were entering a world where a billionaire pussy grabber would become the most powerful man in politics. Millenials are facing uncertainty about the environment. They are isolated more and more each day by technology and adidas spoke to that fear and reinforced the idea of the Future not being theirs to inherit with a campaign named Originals are never finished. I mean when you watch this video…
The latest campaign by the brand Calling All Creators, launched today, feels a bit forced. I will drop the video below in a moment, but consider this. In the Future video the athlete can’t be distinguished from the people participating in the ad (the athlete is Shump who is no longer with adidas). The darkness and fear is palpable and the confidence and ability it takes to break through those chains is evident as the horde looks forward only to look back and remind those watching that they simply don’t have to accept this world. The shit is amazing!!!!! I’m not saying that Calling All Creators isn’t amazing:
The brand has made sure to invite the creators from sport, fashion, film, and music. It’s inclusive. It could be powerful, but King Push is one of my favorite emcees… There is no way that he’s sitting at a table and laughing with Aaron Rodgers. It feels forced. As a matter of fact the entire setting feels generic and maybe it’s because I saw what adidas has been doing, and I’ve been paying attention, that I feel that this was too easy. Now if the video had shown groups entering and sitting it would have been a stronger video. That one change would imply that these people are coming together to make a statement.
This video is the first in a series and what I hope will happen are more personal visions of creativity that take me back to what adidas accomplished when it seemed that they were hungry to take a share of the market from Nike. It seems now that they aren’t as hungry, but I’ve been writing a lot about how the brand has been taking an easy route to the design of its footwear and how this has led to what I think is a drop off in interest for the Three Stripes.
There are things that I do like in the video, but I think a lot of people are not going to catch the details.
- The use of Jacob Banks’ song is smart. If you don’t know how Banks became a singer, that’s a story that I hope is discussed at some point. It’s honest, but like I said most people don’t even know the London based singer and his voice isn’t in the video, just the track.
- T-Mac represents adidas’ connection to the recent past and Brandon Ingram shows the connection to the future. Beckham is positioned in contrast to Pogba. The juxtaposition of the old in sport passing off to the new is well done… but people won’t notice and there wasn’t any dialogue to convey this connection. It is hard for adidas to hit every market though… they did it masterfully in the Originals My Way ad where the turn the tables on Doggystyle and featured Kareem as the OG:
3. The theme of loyalty had better be present in segments featuring Derrick Rose. The brand has avoided the injury plagued Rose and to show him now, while he’s dealing with the most difficult decision he has to make is a beautiful gesture by the brand. That’s a great thing for them to have done and I know this is just the intro, but I hope this leads to a more up close and personal discussion on mental health and fear vs confidence and fighting.
4. Candace Parker. I don’t really have to say anything else except, about time. (They did do a series of videos featuring Parker in one earlier this year, but after the serious miss of adidas doing nothing after her championship season last year… she’s owed something dope).
The problem with this video is the heavy lean on sport and the absence of one creator, Kanye. I wouldn’t have noticed this to be honest without one of my peers pointing out the absence of Ye earlier today. I guess it’s actually a smart move by the brand as Kanye has been given far too much credit for the rebirth of the brand and establishing that adidas has a lot more to bring to the table than just Yeezy is the obvious play.
Overall this transition to Creators lacks the style and savvy of the most recent Creators video featuring Tango Squad for the Glitch (look it up and you’ll see what I mean about this new intro being a bit flat). Also look up the Arsham video series by the brand and you realize that they know how to do video… it’s just that this one leaves me feeling like I did after I watched the Originals 3 video… and right now is not the time for adidas to be missing. With NMDs going on sale, and products sitting on shelves, and especially after they just used the same person to market adidas that Under Armour used in a video campaign, I expect more.