We Won't Buy Claim, but We Might Buy the Clothes

See the Video: Adidas' 'What Your Wear' Spot

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Marketer: Adidas
Brand: Adidas Golf Apparel
Title: What Your Wear
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco
Stars: Three
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Puffery the Magic Dragon lived on TV
And frolicked in imagined claims of superiority.
Lucky that in Ad Land, you're still allowed to puff.
At least until the FCC says "Desist. Enough's enough!"


Been to the circus lately? "The Greatest Show on Earth" isn't.

Animal odors
If you ask us (mind you, we don't like animal odors and we're afraid of clowns), the circus show is about on par with dinner-theater "Once Upon a Mattress" or the average episode of "Moesha."

No problem with the slogan, though. The law and common sense allow for a certain element of irrational exuberance in advertising, on the theory that you have to be an imbecile not to understand that Serta isn't indisputably the world's best mattress and Grey Goose isn't the world's best-tasting vodka and Pacific Poker isn't the world's best poker room and Navicat isn't necessarily the world's best MySQL front end for Windows, although it may well be because we have no idea what they're talking about.

Anyway, so says AdReview, home of the world's best cup of coffee.

Hyperbolic license
In fact, the tolerance for puffery is so well-established that federal regulation even allows for the imbecile demographic, declining to intervene on behalf of the "most credulous" consumers who cannot grasp the concept of hyperbolic license. If you are at this very moment rushing in AdReview's direction with your coffee mug, for instance, the FTC says you're on your own.

So everyone at Adidas and TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, can relax. Federal agents will not be swarming your office, in spite of the hogwash you're currently putting on TV.

The spot is clever. It shows golfers Sergio Garcia, Mike Weir, Sean O'Hair, Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer -- Adidas-clad all -- performing various virtuosic links miracles. That would be unremarkable except for the fact that they don't seem to be wielding golf clubs. The equipment has been digitally erased from the picture, so they're just air swinging, yet the ball still flies toward the cup.

The message, in onscreen titles: WHAT YOU WEAR IS AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT YOU HIT.

What you wear is not important
Yessiree, very clever. Except for one teensy problem: What you wear is not as important as what you hit.

What you wear, pardon the expression, is immaterial.

They're all good golfers and they all look fabulous in their Adidas outfits, but, in golf, clothing has no bearing on the outcome whatsoever. Never mind so-called "equipment for the body," the actual golfing equipment - those irons, drivers and putters magically erased from view -- have precious little to do with the outcome. It's all in the swing, Chauncey.

So what are we to think when a nice sneaker company shows up in the middle of the Masters and-puff! -- turns our TVs into the land called Honah Lee?

Answer: nothing terrible.

Special-effects gimmick
The wise thing to do would be marvel at the special-effects gimmick. It's fun to watch. The second thing would be to be impressed with the clothes, if you go for that striped Euro-crap. The third thing might be stare at Natalie Gulbis' skirt, which is two sizes too tight.

But then there's a fourth thing: maybe a simple meditation on how, behind the Big Lie, lies a tiny but significant truth. The value of a consumer product is the value the consumer places on it. Never mind that the Adidas shoes and rain suit won't improve your game any more than the $600 driver did; maybe you just want to look bitchin' out there.

In which case, lo and behold, through the magic of advertising, the puffery becomes more or less true.