Through New Year's, we will be counting down our picks for 2021's 30 best ads and creative marketing ideas.
At No. 17: One of the year's most memorable outdoor stunts saw Adidas create a billboard you can swim in.
Women were invited to swim in a billboard last month at one of Dubai's most popular beaches, in an outdoor stunt for Adidas, promoting its new inclusive swimwear collection for women.
What the brand claims is the "first ever liquid billboard" was actually a mini-swimming pool five meters high, three meters deep, made of reinforced transparent acrylic and holding 11,500 gallons of water.
See the full list of 2021's Best Ads.
The liquid billboard took three weeks and a team of 32 people to build. It went live June 24 for three days on a public beach. Swimmers, including amputee triathlete Dareen Barbar and Saudi Arabian climber Raha Moharrak, took a dip, and at the same time, live footage from inside the billboard was streamed on a digital screen at the Dubai Mall ice rink, next to the Adidas flagship store.
Havas Middle East was lead creative and strategic partner, while Jack Morton Middle East was the production agency on the project.
The activation was also supported by a larger PR effort which saw a conservative swimwear kit being sent in a specially designed box as an invitation for members of the press and influencers to jump in on launch day. Photos from each of the swimmers were also edited into personalized posters that were printed and given to them once they completed the experience, together with digital assets for their social channels.
The activation follows the launch of Adidas' inclusive swimwear collection, catering to women across the Middle East, which has also been supported by an ad fronted by Sudanese-British spoken word-poet and sport inclusivity activist, Asma Elbadawi.
“Our belief is that nobody should be prevented from enjoying the benefits of being in and around the water, hence the recent launch of our diversified product offering for all women and our Burkini Collection,” said Amrith Gopinath, senior brand director at Adidas, in a statement. “Each piece is also carefully crafted to ensure that additional fabric does not reduce a swimmer’s ability to move in the water. The range went through a detailed testing process with consumer groups across multiple regions to help find the perfect balance of fit, features, performance and coverage.”