Cannes Lions

"Impossible Is Nothing"

SOCKEYE, Portland / ADIDAS / 2021

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

The past year has been incredibly challenging. And yet there are reasons for hope and meaningful progress is being made across the globe.

adidas has always believed in possibilities. We stood with athletes like Kathrine Switzer, Muhammad Ali, and Billie Jean King. Today we stand with the WNBA, trans athletes fighting to play, and artists like Pharrell Williams and Beyonce who are using their platform to fight for justice, inclusion and equality.

We set out to amplify the stories of these brand partners who inspire us and embody our values, and who are at the front lines of evolving sport and culture.

Idea

The pandemic presented many challenges, production being one of them. So instead of a series of shoots, we decided on a documentary, archival approach, sharing never-before-seen footage to show the story of how our partner’s see possibilities.

The idea was to show the entire journey of the athletes and artists we partner with who are challenging the status quo. Where they came from, their success, and the ripple effect of how they are inspiring people through their voices and actions.

Given the global reach and media weight of this campaign, we were very deliberate in the stories we choose to tell, forgoing many of the bigger names who wear the three stripes to tell best stories. Or as Forbes described, “What makes the campaign noteworthy, is how inclusive it is of people from different sports, genders, ethnicities, and nationalities.”

Strategy

“Impossible Is Nothing” is our long-standing adidas brand attitude that has taken on new resonance as the athletes and artists we partner with have increasingly used their platforms and voices to fight for justice.

As a brand, we have also deepened our long-standing commitments to equity and sustainability by working to include all people in sport and pledging to go virgin polyester free by 2024.

To us, "Impossible Is Nothing" is a way of seeing the world for what it can be, not as it is. Seeing possibilities with optimism is key to achieving our purpose of changing lives through the power of sport.

The idea of seeing what was or seems impossible as possible and in fact absolutely necessary was the strategic insight that drives this campaign.

Execution

In just a few months, we worked with partners directly to source never before seen footage from their archives. We also found footage from their careers and from the real people who are inspired by and engaged with them. We worked with editorial teams and partners across the globe 24 hours a day to source edit, and license footage and music, finishing more than 20 films for launch.

The campaign just recently dropped on April 18, 2021 across broadcast, social, digital and out of home executions in 16 different languages with paid media in over 60 countries with the entire adidas brand platform embracing the campaign and idea of seeing possibilities with a single, unified message across the globe.

Outcome

Since launching late April, the campaign has already garnered widespread worldwide coverage, half a billion views and counting. Over 2,000 brand partners shared their stories of possibilities on their social channels, resulting in tens of thousands of engagements with people around the world.

The 60-second Beyonce film, which aired during the Oscars, got responses like “The Beyonce adidas commercial just won the 2022 Oscar for best live action short” from Matt Donnelly of Variety.

“What makes the campaign remarkable from a representation and inclusion standpoint is the storytelling. It isn’t just about showcasing photos of a diverse group of people. The backstory of each person featured is the main event.” Forbes

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