Adidas leans into the power of threes in a new Originals campaign featuring three short films from three directors—and a logo tweak that sees the Adidas wordmark removed and the trefoil image left to stand on its own.
The films, each two minutes long, were created by agency Johannes Leonardo, which called on three directors from production company Love Song to craft them—Daniel Wolfe, Justyna Obasi and Will Dohrn. The films are designed to celebrate three Originals sneakers—the Superstar, Gazelle and Samba—by digging into their history to show how they transcended their origins in sports to become fixtures in culture.
Here’s the first film, by Love Song founder Daniel Wolfe, for the Superstar:
“Adidas Originals was born from sport but has been adopted over the years by countless people, communities and cultures,” Annie Barrett, global senior director of brand communications for Adidas Originals, told Ad Age. “We felt it was the right moment to take a step back, recontextualize our past for a new generation and reintroduce who we are and what we so proudly stand for. It’s a celebration of Originals, which has always pioneered this movement from sport to culture.”
“When you think of the Adidas brand, you think ‘three stripes,’” added Jeph Burton, group creative director at Johannes Leonardo. “We let that singular observation become a guiding principle that would inform all our work in becoming iconic again: Three icons. Three directors. A design system inspired by and for the brand with the three stripes.”
Justyna Obasi directed the second film, which Barrett described as “such a romantic expression of the Samba. Her technique was detailed, expressive, emotive and touches on the nostalgia of our brand.”
“Into each film, these collaborators poured their own takes, their own techniques, their own relationship to the camera and subject matter, on the original concepts,” said Burton. “Though there are similarities in design and structure of each of these films, all are told through a unique perspective only that one director could give. It was an experiment that became evidence of our theory: We, as a brand, give the world an original, but it’s the world who gives us a thousand back.”
The brand, agency and directors dug deep into the history of the three sneakers to be able to tell authentic stories about their history.
“We did our research, digging into our archive and speaking with pioneers of the brand for months and months,” said Barrett. “Every piece and detail you see within the films—down to the laces—is true to its respective era or subculture. To accomplish this, we dove into the extensive Adidas archives to source vintage apparel and footwear from these moments. It was our way of traveling in time to quite literally bring our past into our future.”
The main character in the Gazelle film embodies this, Barrett said—“she runs through space, time, era and her apparel shifts with the time, too. With the flick of an eye you can just see the transitions so naturally through the eras.”
Below is the Gazelle film, from director Will Dohrn:
Along with the film, the campaign includes a refreshed Adidas Originals logo.
“The Originals trefoil has always been a symbol of evolution for our brand,” said Barrett. “Our new lockup logo, removing the word Adidas from underneath, is distinctly and confidently Adidas Originals. It brings a fresh perspective to Adidas Originals—while interestingly it was actually how we first introduced the trefoil for the first time in 1972.”
Each film is also accompanied by a set of triptych stills shot by Chadwick Tyler, which again show the power of threes—extreme crops of the product in the center panels, flanked by closeups of faces and allusions to their stories in the other panels.
The campaign comes to life through a global media strategy and a refreshed creative direction on owned channels, including the website, social channels and in-store. Brand partners will amplify the message, including Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Jenna Ortega, Jennie Kim from Blackpink, Run-D.M.C., Pusha T and Stormzy.