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Agency challenge of the year- adidas says build us a nike+

January 17, 2008

I am surprised it took so long, but according to Campaign in the UK, Adidas is officially jealous of Nike’s success with Nike+ and it wants its own.

This could be the agency brief of the year and one of the branding world’s most challenging assignments, because no other brand, in sports or beyond, has come close to delivering a layered, engaging experience quite as good as Nike+.

The Campaign story lacks some critical information about the real nature of the brief, the timing and the agencies that Adidas is talking to.

It’s especially interesting because it’s asking agencies, assuming they are talking to traditional shops, to stretch well outside their comfort zone.

Will it involve product development?

Partnerships?

Technology?

Building robust social networks?

I can only assume Adidas is looking for an idea that replicates the level of brand engagment of Nike+, rather than simply copying it.

The interesting question here is what makes sense for the Adidas brand?

Nike has made an about-turn in its strategy, especially for running, instead of focusing on only the elite athletes, it has now learned to love and embrace, “anyone who runs”. This would have been an unthinkable concept in Beaverton 5 years ago.

Adidas, in many ways, have focused on the athletes and their superhuman efforts. The brand has pushed into Nike’s old space with “Impossible is Nothing”. It’s a focus on the elite athlete and their extreme edge of performance.

While the Campaign story makes it clear that this isn’t going to impact the brand’s main agency relationships, however, the participating agencies are aren’t going to be able to create a rival idea, unless they take a long, hard look at the future of the Adidas brand. You can’t separate the two things, so this one is going to get interesting.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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