Adidas is out with a marketing push to create buzz around the launch of signature sneakers for five National Basketball Association (NBA) players, while stressing the importance of teamwork over individual athleticism.
Adidas’ It Takes 5ive campaign broke last week with NBA stars Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Chauncey Billups and Gilbert Arenas. In TV spots, the five taunt viewers who believe that individuals make a team successful. On the contrary, “It takes five baby” (the number of team players on a basketball court during game play) one player says in the ad.
During the six-month-long campaign, each athlete will push his own sneaker, starting with The T-MAC 6 (Tracy McGrady) shoe, which launched Oct. 20. The Gil Zero (Gilbert Arenas’ shoe) rolls out in December, KG Bounce (Kevin Garnett) in January the C-Billups (Chauncey Billups) in March and the Stealth (Tim Duncan) in April.
Ads drive consumers to AdidasBasketball.com. Consumers can sign up for the Adidas Underground, which provides access codes to unlock hidden content of the five players featured in the NBA Live 07 video game from EA Sports.
Meanwhile, a sweepstakes on the site dangles an autographed copy of the game as a grand prize. Five first-prize winners will receive the game. The sweeps end Oct. 31. Consumers can also register to win one of five chances to participate in a Game On sweepstakes with EA Sports and Xbox, which allows winners to play NBA Live 07 against NBA player Adam Morrison on Xbox 360.
Additional sweepstakes will offer Adidas prizes and will coincide with each shoe launch. And beginning Nov. 1, the brand will introduce a sweeps on the site in which one consumer will win the VIP All Star Experience grand prize, which includes an all-expense paid trip to the NBA All-Star 2007 game, tickets to the game and superstar treatment.
“The Web experience created to support the campaign actually is one of the most content-laden and interactive sites we’ve ever developed,” Adidas spokesperson Terrell Clark said. “There are multiple possibilities to not only examine and interact with the vast range of our Adidas basketball and NBA product, but opportunities to get to know our vast number of athletes.”
The campaigns’ concept of “we” versus “me” also plays in print ads, which feature all five athletes blending into each other as they go up for a slam-dunk. The copy points to the characteristic each athlete brings to the team, culminating with the line “It Takes 5ive.” Individual ads show each player receiving a pass, doing what makes him special, and then passing the ball off of the page. The five single page ads work together to form one continuous play down the court and will be displayed on one side of a five-page poster that will run in SLAM magazine, on sale Oct. 24. The alternate side will carry brand-spread creative.
“We have a unique goal for each of the various aspect of this campaign, but they all link to our primary goal of celebrating what’s great about the game, the concept of team,” Clark said. “By changing the conversation from ‘me’ to ‘we’, we’re simply hoping to, in simple terms, to get old school in a way and celebrate the rebound cross court pass, lobbed up for the slam dunk.”
Adidas’ marketing push signals the company’s focus on snatching market share away from sneaker category dominator Nike. Nike holds an 81.8% share of the $2.6 billion basketball sneaker market in the U.S., compared to Adidas’ 10% which jumps to 14% when combined with Reebok, the New York Times reported. Adidas acquired Reebok in January.
This year, the Portland-based company’s sporting activities included a slew of promotions tied to World Cup Soccer held in Germany. Adidas’ affiliation with the event boosted its second quarter revenues 20% to $2.33 billion (PROMO Xtra Aug. 10).
Adidas said the It Takes 5ive concept originated from conversations with the players and was developed by Adidas’ global advertising partner TBWA/Chiat/Day San Francisco, part of the 180/TBWA alliance. TV spots were directed by Ringan Ledwidge.