Adidas Lets Consumers Help With Originals Brand Building

New Stores Allow for Fashion Customization, Added Social Media Components

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Adidas is turning over control of its Originals stores and product line to consumers. Not literally, but sort of.
The yearlong Celebrate Originality campaign kicks off in the U.S. with the release of an Adidas-created online claymation film about company founder Adi Dassler and the evolution of the Adidas sneaker.
The yearlong Celebrate Originality campaign kicks off in the U.S. with the release of an Adidas-created online claymation film about company founder Adi Dassler and the evolution of the Adidas sneaker.

The world's No. 2 sneaker company is taking customization and the use of social and consumer-generated media to the extreme with the opening of its re-designed Originals store in New York's SoHo today and its new "Celebrate Originality" campaign kicking off March 1.

Unveiling new Originals concept
The re-designed store will be home to a new miOriginals concept, which will allow consumers to create their own sneakers in atelier-inspired in-store workshops where they can choose from a variety of colors, prints, materials, embroidery and jewels. The store also includes a wall in the shape of the brand's trefoil logo that serves as an interactive display with a touch screen that allows consumers to take a photo of themselves they can then "send to the wall" and have displayed for 24 hours.

The first re-designed Originals store opened in Berlin last week and another is scheduled to open in Beijing later this year. The Originals line of products includes sneakers, clothing and accessories.

The company's push for the Originals line stems from its wanting to take further advantage of the customization and athletic wear as fashion trends that continue to remain popular with the young demographic this effort is targeting.

"We've been doing customization for many years," Andrea Corso, an Adidas spokeswoman said. "This is just an extension of that. ... It's special for Originals because it's now making this design component available to more consumers with more products and turning it over to them so they can bring their creative to life."

Today also marks the start of a four-year partnership with denim clothing company Diesel and the debut of the Adidas Original Denim by Diesel line, which is available only in the Originals store. This is the first time Diesel has created a denim line with another lifestyle brand. Ms. Corso said the collectible line is being produced by the Adidas Originals and Diesel creative teams and will be aimed at "true aficionados."

Online branding effort
The yearlong Celebrate Originality campaign kicks off in the U.S. with the release of an Adidas-created online claymation film. The film, about company founder Adi Dassler and the evolution of the Adidas sneaker, will appear on sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Riott and Hypebeast, as well as in movie theatres. Three additional films will roll out over the next six months highlighting products from the 2008 spring and summer collection.

Hermann Deininger, chief marketing officer of the Adidas Sport Style division, said the campaign is valued in the high seven figures and is the biggest online U.S. buy for the Originals line to date.

The target for this effort is 16 to 25 year olds, which is why Adidas decided a campaign heavily loaded with new-media applications would resonate more effectively.

"Looking at the media usage of this consumer and having the ability to use interactive tools to have a dialogue with them," Mr. Deininger said, "the decision was clear to focus on digital media and to also bring our Celebrate Originality campaign to life in our own stores."

Media components
The campaign was created by 180 Amsterdam, which has been working with Adidas for nine years. Along with the in-store component, the campaign also features a global print execution in youth and lifestyle-focused magazines and a significant public relations element that will be handled by Adidas' recently named PR agency of record, Hill & Knowlton.

Hill & Knowlton, which will also do work on all six of Adidas' categories -- soccer, running, basketball, training, Originals and U.S. sports (baseball, football and Nascar) -- separate from the Celebrate Originality campaign, will conduct blogger outreach.

"We have an excellent relationship with our consumers and it's simply taking the next step by initiating this dialogue and giving them an open invitation for self expression," Mr. Deininger said. "There will be a lot of other elements coming up in the future that will allow the consumer to participate."
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