Cannes Lions

Creative Strategy - Global adidas running repositioning


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We encountered countless stories of creative runners who were transforming the sport. They were taking this thing we call running, pulling it apart and putting it back together in new, more inspiring forms. People were running half marathons, but they were running them at midnight. The Midnight Half was born. And runners were out there racing. But not against themselves, but against the metro. They were trying to sprint to the next metro stop and make it into the same car before it left. Race the Tube was invented. People were no longer running from A to B anymore - they were running from A to Z.

A creative strategy was born: Decode running. Recode running. Repeat.

This strategy was born from the culture of running, but it was also true to the way adidas designers deconstructed their innovations in order to reconstruct and improve them. Over and over.


On behalf of the creator brand, we were keen to find out how creativity is transforming runner’s lives, communities and their worlds. And so we spoke with over 100 international runners. We interviewed them, ran with them, ate tacos with them and ran some more with them.

We found out that not everyone was trying to go from the couch to a 5k, set a personal best or train to run a marathon. Running had changed.

We learned, over and over, that when you inject a bit of creativity into this seemingly serious sport, it becomes a powerful tool for transformation. We met a former junkie who had been living on the streets, who was now winning serious half marathons and dominating the same streets she used to sleep on. We met a running crew that was helping transform their city by constantly picking up trash as they ran. And we met individuals who were transforming running through creativity from an A to B thing, into an A to Z thing. And one day it dawned on us- creativity was the tool runners were using to achieve transformation.


When we started this category relaunch, we didn’t set out to come up with a new running slogan. We wanted to identify and articulate a new POV and philosophy on running. DECODE. RECODE. REPEAT. Is more than a line or a brand platform. It’s a creative strategy for business. Internally, we used it to challenge our clients to DECODE. RECODE. REPEAT every aspect of the brand.

RECODE sell in events. Our RECODE event was the best sell-in to date. RECODE PRODUCT. The UB19 was a large leap forward from UB18. RECODE your comms. This creative strategy went on to be the creative campaign expression for what was to become the largest category relaunch in the brand’s history.

And the results were pretty spectacular. 56.2M views. Within ten days of launch online views of the campaign content was up 960%. We’d like to tell you more but we’re out of words.

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2023, ADIDAS

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