Adidas is underscoring its commitment to sport – and particularly the moments within it – with a new global marketing campaign called “Sport 15.”
Driven primarily out the company’s North American head office in Portland, OR, the TV and digital campaign is the sports apparel company’s biggest global brand campaign since 2011’s “All In or Nothing.” It will roll into Sport 16 in 2016 and Sport 17 the following year.
Stewart Smith, vice-president of marketing, Adidas brand at Adidas Group Canada, said the campaign marks a return to sport for the German company, which first started making sports shoes in 1924, but has also emerged as a global lifestyle brand with products spanning bags, watches, hoodies, etc.
“We essentially took a look at ourselves in the mirror and said ‘We need to get back to sport, really talk to the athletic consumer and make that connection between sport and our consumers,” said.
Smith said the company has done a “fantastic job” of connecting with lifestyle consumers through sub-brands like Originals, but is keen to reconnect with its core athletic customers.
“Did we take our eye off the ball while doing that? I don’t think that’s the case,” he said. “I think it’s just that we need to have more of a balance between those two consumers.”
Developed by 180LA – with local media from Carat Canada – the new campaign is based on seizing moments of greatness within sport as they happen, putting aside previous triumphs. It features professional athletes such as longtime Adidas endorsers Lionel Messi and the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose, as well as amateur athletes.
Adidas began teasing the campaign earlier this month, with a series of individual athlete films posted via social media and participating athletes changing their social avatars to reflect the Sport 15 creative.
“Take It,” the first of four TV spots planned for 2015, launched a little over a week ago. The 60-second umbrella spot focuses on professional and amateur athletes seizing individual moments within a game, with a dramatic music score and a voiceover that states: “The last goal? Doesn’t matter. The last victory? Already forgotten. Yesterday (pause) is gone. Lost in the record books. But today is up for grabs. Unpredictable. Unwritten. Undecided. Now is ours. Do something, and be remembered. Or do nothing, and be forgotten. No one owns today. Take it.”
That spot – as well as a 30-second version – will be complemented by a series of digital spots called “Takers,” focusing on individual Adidas endorsers. Future spots will have a Canadian flavour, said Smith, with Toronto’s Andrew Wiggins (a member of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves) and the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry set to appear in digital-only spots.
“We’re trying to localize them as much as possible, which is a fantastic opportunity for our market,” said Smith.
Karen Hrstic, group account director for Carat and lead on the Adidas brand, said the campaign is intended to connect and engage with so-called “sporty teens.” Insights gleaned from its proprietary consumer research tool CCS (Consumer Connection System) confirmed what they already intuitively knew about this particular group: They are heavy video and digital users.
The media plan focuses on TV environments that over-index against the “sporty teen,” such as MuchMusic, TSN, Teletoon and MTV. Online, Carat opted for what Hrstic described as “contextually relevant” placements on TSN.ca and targeted sites such as Break.com to extend the message’s reach and engagement.
The campaign represents the company’s biggest-ever marketing investment, said Smith, though he declined to provide a specific dollar value.
Smith said he wasn’t privy to any of the internal discussion about the use of controversial FC Barcelona forward Luis Suárez in the brand campaign. The Uruguayan international returned to club soccer in October after being banned for four months after biting the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during a World Cup match last year.
While there was speculation that the on-field incident might lead Adidas to sever ties with the mercurial – but hugely talented – star, he is currently appearing in a digital for Adidas’s F50 soccer boot called “There will be haters.” The spot debuted in January.