Adidas ads feature musicians but not their music

Wed Dec 3, 2008 6:46pm EST
 
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By Kamau High

NEW YORK (Billboard) - In the summer of 1986, hip-hop pioneers Run-D.M.C. played a show at Madison Square Garden in New York, riding high on the success of their single "My Adidas" and their third album, "Raising Hell."

Daryl "D.M.C." McDaniels remembers it well.

"I would take off my sneaker and hold it up and say, 'Myyyy Adidas,' and then people would do it back," he says, adding that "the people at Adidas couldn't understand why the sales of shell toes were going through the roof."

An Adidas marketing executive was in the audience at the Garden show, so it wasn't long before the company signed the group to a $1.5 million endorsement deal, its first with a music act.

Two decades after its initial foray into music marketing, Adidas has launched a new global ad campaign for its Adidas Originals line of footwear and apparel that features 11 recording stars, including McDaniels.

The campaign, created by the agency Sid Lee in Montreal, depicts music acts like Katy Perry, Estelle, Missy Elliott and the Ting Tings dancing and laughing at a house party in Adidas gear. Besides starring in the TV spots, the musicians will appear online and in print ads.

In an unusual move, none of the TV ads uses any of the featured artists' music. Instead, the spots are accompanied by Pilooski's remix of Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons' "Beggin'."

Licensing songs from the artists featured in the ad campaign would have proved expensive. But Adidas spokesman Jeff Weinstein insists that financial considerations weren't a factor in the company's decision not to use the artists' songs.   Continued...

 
<p>Singer Katy Perry performs on NBC's "Today" show in New York August 29, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>