3 x Ways Adidas Supersized Their Influencer Campaign

To launch its P.O.D shoe, adidas Originals reached for its little black book of influencers, creating a supersized activation that was truly unignorable.

Targeting sneaker heads and fashion bloggers across New York and Los Angeles, the brand worked with Clear Channel Outdoor to find 16 billboard locations to create personalised out-of-home ads for each influencer.

Image: adidas
Image: adidas

The billboards included the influencer’s Instagram handle and a tailored message, along with a message to head to their local store to pick up their pair of P.O.Ds.

1. Big, Bold And Unignorable

Influencers are sent hundreds of PR packages a week – for brands it’s become a competition of who can be the loudest, biggest, most Instagrammable box in the haul, and the temptation is to go louder and bigger and more ridiculous each time.

Not only are influencers becoming desensitised to PR gifting, they’re creating a backlash against the hugely wasteful packaging involved in these stunts. We’ve all heard about single-use plastics, but have you heard about single-use TV screens looping make-up tutorials on the inside of a PR box? Boxes the size of TVs to hold a single mascara? Or how about being sent every shade of lipstick in the collection? Of which there can be hundreds.

So, for adidas, going big and bold to get noticed was an option, but not in the way we’ve seen before.

Image Source: Instagram
Image Source: Instagram

Naderi-Nejad, Senior Director of adidas Originals in North America, noted that the brand has close relationships with each of the influencers selected for this campaign, so it was able to create some truly personalised billboards. Tyler Glickman, for example, lives in New York and recently got married. Adidas made sure to include something about his wedding in his ad. Simply unignorable.

2. The Gift That Keeps On Giving

For most brands, the measure of successful PR would be a one-off social mention by the influencer themselves – an Instagram post or a story. But for adidas, they wanted more than a tag.

“For this, we wanted to spark conversation,” said Pascha Naderi-Nejad. “These guys are the real sneaker celebrities. We wanted to get a lot of user-generated content, and we wanted to get their following to actually hit them up and say, ‘Hey, there’s a billboard with your name on it. What’s that all about?'”

Sneaker heads have some of the most committed, die-hard followers and fan bases of all subcultures. Finding an angle to engage with them, as well as the influencers themselves was a smart move.

3. Hyper-targeted

But first, to engage with fans, they had to find them - location was key to ensure fans would actually catch a glimpse of the outdoor campaign.

“We tried to put these in high-traffic areas - not just high-traffic areas, but high-quality-traffic areas - meaning trying to get their consumer overlapped with our consumer,” said Naderi-Nejad. “So if it is a streetwear shopping centre area, then try to get the unboxers there. If it’s something like a key city opinion leader, then put it near a freeway that is going to have heavy traffic.”

Image: adidas
Image: adidas

After seeing the success of the first wave of the campaign, adidas Originals is rolling out the programme across summer, reaching Miami, Atlanta and Chicago. The brand also has plans to evolve its campaign in New York and Los Angeles, calling out different neighbourhoods in the area.

If brands are defined by how they are experienced, there is no greater experience than the opening of a new product, getting something completely box fresh. At LOVE, we think a great unboxing should do three things:

1. Create desire – make the product feel even more special

2. Be memorable – build a deeper connection with the consumer

3. Be shareable – generate word of mouth (on and offline)

It’s fair to say this adidas campaign ticked all three.

SEEN is compiled by LOVE’s Head of Culture, Kat Towers. Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge? Get in touch - kattowers@lovecreative.com