Adidas continues live-action effort

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[Tokyo] Adidas' billboard with two people playing brief soccer matches suspended in the air drew such big crowds in Japan and so much worldwide attention that the marketer returned to live action this month with a basketball player who uses a trampoline to sink baskets in a hoop hanging above a five-story building in Tokyo. The hoop, with Adidas' logo on the backboard, is attached to a large tarp that provides the billboard-like backdrop. A basketball player is harnessed between two poles to stay centered and uses the trampoline on the ground for momentum to propel himself up to the hoop. The basketball is tethered so it doesn't bounce away. The player shoots baskets in five-minute sessions twice an hour, twelve times a day, right by Tokyo's Adidas store and a busy train station. Last September, Adidas dangled two players and a ball by ropes 12 stories above the ground, playing soccer at a 90-degree angle to the vertical soccer field displayed behind them as a giant billboard (AA, Sept.9, 2003). Basketball and soccer in the sky were invented by John Merrifield, chief creative officer of Omnicom Group's TBWA Japan. TBWA handles Adidas around the world in an alliance with Amsterdam agency 180. Mr. Merrifield is believed to be dreaming up another human billboard sport in the sky that can be played during the Olympic Games.