In November of last year adidas dropped the first video for the “Calling All Creators” campaign. In December a second installation arrived and in both instances I made a point to discuss why the direction of sport appeared to be against the direction of lifestyle that inspired a resurgence by adidas from 2016 to 2017:
While I realize that adidas is billion dollar company and any analysis has to be taken as only a segment of movement the brand may be making, the direction of a company in a particular market can speak to where that company sees its weakness. I’ve said since adidas bounced back that fashion is shaky. While fashion and streetwear definitely led to adidas’ recent success, that success was also made possible by a marketing team that utilized the best strategies in the business. The imagery that is being created by adidas to end the year and moving into this year all hinges on the Creators being athletes. In this new campaign for a redesigned alphaBOUNCE it’s clear that adidas understands the limitations of fashion and lifestyle and to be honest that’s a good thing. They’ve brought aboard three athletes to promote Beyond:
and Florencia Galarza
Everyone in the industry understands that performance footwear isn’t selling at the same rate. Sales are decreasing there. Lifestyle, athleisure, retro is dominating the landscape. The funny thing is those people that continue to point that out are acting as if this is something new. Classics have always been go to footwear. There is a reason the Chuck Taylor, adidas Superstar and Stan Smith, and the Air Force 1 are all shoes that remain in production after over 30 years or more. There is an underlying problem with this though. Those are styles that are one purchase products. When a person buys a pair of Stan Smiths that shoe is a daily wear shoe that will be worn until it disintegrates.
Brands realize this. Brands are also acutely aware of the shifting nature of fitness in North America. Employees and Employers are both looking to reduce costs as medical care in the US is a part of the problem with income and due to rising costs this shapes discretionary funding. Childhood diabetes, obesity and other health issues are affecting people longterm. What does this have to do with footwear? Everything. When jobs have to pay more for healthcare, they don’t hire as much. When people are paying a lot for healthcare, they don’t have any discretionary spending available. I’m jumping around a bit, but stay with me.
There is a push now for cities to become more actively involved in shaping fitness. Believe it or not a fit city attracts more companies because of the natural correlation between good employees and health. There are more rock climbing gyms being built. Crossfit and Ninja Warrior styled facilities are becoming more popular. Community sports (yoga, spartan races) mean that fitness is no longer being relegated to guys playing basketball or jogging.
I complained about adidas’ direction. I thought a move away from lifestyle and the imagery associated with it would hurt. The problem is adidas has introduced several lifestyle shoes and they’ve all failed to stimulate interest. I blamed this on redundant design and disconnected marketing. The Prophere isn’t selling. The ADV EQT Cushion has also failed to make a splash and after barely two months it’s being reduced at every retail outlet. Now that the NMD is no longer the darling of streetwear and even the Yeezy after being dropped in larger numbers barely draws a resale value, adidas understands that performance as daily wear is a place for growth.
The alphaBOUNCE has been a solid performer for adidas. This change is drastic and while there are an abundance of pairs on the market this shoe is adidas’ Nike Free. A consistent performance shoe that provides a steady stream of revenue. This update won’t blow people away, but maybe the brand realizes the future will have to be a combination of performance as fashion. That’s because the future has always been performance as fashion. The Chuck Taylor was a sports shoe. Every “casual” shoe was a sports shoe.