Adidas campaign closes gap on rival

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 July, 2006, 12:00am

apparel category


adidas 'Impossible is Nothing/Hello Tomorrow' campaign

TRAILING BEHIND market leader Nike in image perception and advertising budget, adidas attempted to close the gap through launching its intelligent sports shoe, adidas_1, claimed to be the world's first shoes fitted with a computer chip and battery powered sensor to adjust the cushioning to the runner's step, pace or weight.

To sell 80 per cent of the shoes' local stock in the first three weeks of the campaign was just one objective. The more fundamental goals were to make adidas look cooler and appear more innovative than its competitor to its key customers - the 'Black Collars', 18 to 24-year-old men who are the first to snap up new 'cool' gadgets as soon as they are in the shops.

Directed by adidas Hong Kong, TBWA Hong Kong orchestrated the 'Impossible is Nothing' campaign, which encompassed television, outdoor, in-store, online and public relations activities. The campaign was launched in April last year.

With an advertising budget equivalent to just a third of what Nike spends, media buyer Carat Media Service spearheaded what was considered a daring strategy of channelling 66 per cent of the budget on outdoor media, at the expense of television advertising (34 per cent) because the targeted segment spent more time out of home for studies, work and entertainment, instead of watching TV.

Posters on MTR and outdoor billboards 'X-rayed' the interior of the intelligent sports shoe to illustrate its innovativeness, while the globally used television campaign, developed by TBWA's Holland agency, 180\Amsterdam, showed a young man who wakes up to 'nothingness', and then puts on the shoe that actually thinks and creates his own new world.

Print advertising was dropped as the agencies banked on free publicity drummed up by public relations activities to more effectively explain and display the product. The resulting free coverage was estimated to be worth $2.5 million.

Adidas worked out a deal with shops to cross-display with Nokia each other's products. Online, a designated mini-site was created and a special edition was listed on eBay.

About 95 per cent of the shoes' local stocks in unspecified quantity were sold in the first two weeks of the campaign and the company's image perception against Nike, as tracked by ACNielsen, had significantly narrowed.

'Breakthrough outdoor and online concepts to reach targets effectively help to reinforce our brand's 'Impossible is Nothing' spirit and innovative positioning,' said adidas Hong Kong managing director Colin Currie.