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Adidas’ secret weapon? The active brand is always in beta (never quite finished)

Adidas Originals and Alexander Wang succesful collab

Adidas Originals and Alexander Wang collab

Given the current tumultuous retail climate, people are turning their attention to brands that are winning in these challenging times. Enter adidas, who recently recorded a strong Q1 with an 16% revenue alongside a loyal following that’s penetrated both the mass market and the underground scene.

Case in point: its latest adidas Originals campaign, which features huge talents on the UK music scene from Stormzy to Mabel, pushing the bar with a completely original and innovative ad campaign ( including selfie references alongside a modern day Birth of Venus). By contrast its Stan Smith shoe has rarely changed over the last 40 years, except for a few tweaks with the materials, and Stan himself revealed that he has seen generations of one family all rocking the same shoe, which is no small feat. So how did adidas captivate the market and report these notable sales? The answer was revealed at this year’s Cannes Lions 2017

The adidas creative team spoke in depth about their collaborative nature, how they turned the brand around, and the magic of having collaborations with the likes of Alexander Wang and Stan Smith. Here are the soundbites that give insight into how these powerful forces have collided to create hype and cultural relevance:

Alexander Wang, Chief Executive and Designer: it’s all about being curious, letting curiosity drive the conversation – it’s so important to ask questions and don’t be afraid to: the best ideas don’t have to come from the top, and usually they don’t. If you’re out there looking for a job, encourage yourself to challenge the status quo, ask why things are done this way and why can’t they can’t be done differently.

Paul Gaudio, Global Creative Director at adidas: We are on a journey of exploration. As a brand we are a story, a narrative; we’re not a fixed thing. Each of you are a part of that narrative. That is part of the adidas story. We firmly believe in the idea that we are a brand in beta. We are never finished. And rather than coming with all the answers, we prefer to come with the questions.For us, sport is about passion and self-expression – for kids today it’s a way to build identity and confidence – sport in itself is an act of creativity. Put sport and creativity together and it’s like a cocktail – they aren’t two opposing forces, to me, they share the same ideals, the same principles: that’s a great space for us as a brand. Adi Dassler himself was an athlete but he was also a creator; he loved sport and creativity, he put those two things together and created not just this brand, but helped to create this whole industry.

Stan Smith, Former world No. 1 American tennis player: The courage of making changes and collaborations has really made it a cool thing for all generations. My niece wasn’t allowed to wear the Stan Smith shoe in her PE class in London. The teacher said it was a fashion shoe, not a performance shoe. She replied, well my uncle won Wimbledon wearing that shoe. Collaborations have extended the life of the brand.

Love this? Follow Sarah Owen live from Cannes on Twitter here

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