Nov 26, 2008

Mktg - U.S. Push for Adidas Originals

Todd Wasserman, Brandweek

It's Adidas' 60th anniversary and the brand is having a party -- on TV at least -- and the guest of honor is Adidas Originals.

The German athletic apparel giant is giving its lifestyle brand, Originals, its first U.S. TV advertising ever: A 30-second spot featuring music stars like Katy Perry, DMC (of Run-DMC) and Method Man cavorting with sports phenoms David Beckham and Kevin Garnett.

The ad, breaking this week via Sid Lee, Montreal, shows the star-studded group at a party decked out in Adidas Originals shoes, shirts, jeans and jackets. There are no spoken words in the ad, which runs as long as 120 seconds, though the TV versions run in 30- and 60-second versions. Instead, there are impressionistic shots of the celebs entering the party, dancing, smiling and falling down, all as a remix of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' "Beggin'" (by DJ Pilooski) plays.

"The overarching message is, 'It's a celebration,' " said Simon Atkins, director of U.S. marketing at Adidas. "It's a house party and everyone's invited."

Atkins said the reason the brand is getting TV support after all these years is because it's Adidas' 60th anniversary and "we're at a point where it was the right time to reintroduce it and raise the volume."

Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for NPD Group, Port Washington, N.Y., had a different take. Cohen said that TV is a particularly effective medium for the Originals brand because, since its appeal is based on a somewhat retro look, it's trying to reach a young and old audience simultaneously. "It's one of those rare times when you want to cross a wide dichotomy and TV is going to become the vehicle," Cohen said.

Cohen said reaching both demos is important because older consumers are more apt to buy the products for their kids if they themselves like it.

The effort comes as company CEO Herbert Hainer has told analysts that he expects the brand's 2009 sales to be slower than first expected. But Cohen said Nike and Adidas are both doing fine overall. "Nike and Adidas have pretty much been the rocks of the sports/lifestyle business," he said. "Both brands have been able to enjoy growth by virtue of a diverse product range."


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