Cannes Lions

adidas x Parley - From Threat Into Thread

ADIDAS, Herzogenaurach / ADIDAS / 2017


2 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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By ourselves, we can only do so much. In order to take the initial work of the partnership to a game-changing level we needed scale in terms of driving awareness and creating conversation. There was no need for huge stunts or an elaborate multilayered campaign; the creative platform was a simple one – bring the power of our assets together into one meaningful, agenda setting moment. By combining the unique strength of two of adidas’ key categories – Football and Running – and leveraging the huge power of two of the worlds biggest football clubs, in Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, we had the opportunity to create mass awareness through influential media titles and social media conversation – that in turn, would engage a massive and powerful consumer audience.


In order to create the scale required, the execution had three elements. First, a global announcement was made through media of the upcoming release of the first adidas x Parley Performance products, the Parley UltraBOOST Uncaged and the two football jerseys. Following this, the sneakers were seeded to key sponsored athletes (e.g. James Harden – basketball, Dan Carter – rugby, Jess Ennis-Hill – athletics) in order to leverage their power and audiences. Finally came the two showpiece moments, the matches in which Bayern Munich and Real Madrid took to the field wearing jerseys made from recycled ocean plastic. With the games watched by billions of people – and the world’s media reporting on the matches – this was the crucial element in the campaign execution. Pre-match press conferences were arranged before each fixture and talking points were provided to broadcasters to ensure in-game communication of key messages.


The results were unprecedented for an adidas product launch – in terms of reach, volume and sentiment. More than 2,000 pieces of media were generated around the world with influential sport, lifestyle, trend and sneaker titles all covering the news. Sentiment was universally positive with media not only communicating why the adidas x Parley performance products were important to the world but also challenging other brands to join the movement.

The media coverage sparked the online conversation and through the strategic use of key adidas partners, that conversation became one of the biggest on the planet during the launch activity. There were more than 12 million social interactions created by adidas, club (Bayern Munich and Real Madrid) and sponsored athlete channels alone.

From a business perspective, although not crucial to the campaign, the 7,000 pairs of Parley UltraBOOST Uncased and 15,000 Bayern Munich and Real Madrid jerseys sold out.

True success for the campaign can only be measured if we all act on the issue. We have no choice, it’s our planet and we have to take responsibility for protecting it. By ourselves, we can only do so much but at adidas we are committed to the cause and in 2017 will produce one million pairs of sneakers from recycled ocean plastic – with the ultimate goal of completely phasing out the use of virgin plastic. The rest is up to you.

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