Impossible is Nothing.
Adidas as a brand has kept aloof of the number one crowd pulling game, Basketball in America for over ten years in 2003. The brand consequently lagged behind at fourth position behind Nike, Reebok, and New Balance. What is more, Adidas, which sponsored the 2004 summer Olympic games, had lost the sponsorship rights of the 2008 Olympics to its competitor Nike.
Determined to reenergize its business in the United States, Adidas sought to raise the level of their game in the sports arena. In 2004, it launched a timeless campaign, Impossible is Nothing, a $ 50-million advertising campaign – its largest ever that included television, print and internet ads. The campaign clearly spelt the values that are derived from sports such as authenticity, inspiration, honesty, and commitment as these are the same values that Adidas followed since entering the market over sixty-five years ago. To reinforce these values, Adidas worked with 22 sports icons and engaged them into sharing their journey to success. The idea was to let audience know what barriers and impediments -social, physical, and mental – these highly successful people encountered and vanquished to become what they are today. Through their stories that unfold in the campaign, Adidas reminds athletes and non-athletes from every walk of life that they can make their own impossibles into possibles!
With Impossible is Nothing campaign, Adidas extended its philosophy of forever sport to a personal level by encouraging everyone to overcome their personal challenges that seem impossible. The advertising agencies – 180 (Amsterdam) and TBWA (San Francisco) brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed the campaign, Impossible is Nothing. The sales of Adidas increased by 20 per cent over the corresponding period of the previous year, the highest in the category, among 12-24 year olds, against which the campaign was targeted.
The Ali vs Ali commercial, where Muhammed Ali being pitted against his own daughter Laila Ali was aired for a limited period on the website. On the day the commercial was featured online, there was a 125 per cent increase in the use of the search term, Adidas on the Yahoo home page from men aged 13-17 years.
Adidas acquired Reebok in 2006 for US $ 3.7 billion to extend its geographic reach and a more balanced sales profile to gain a significant competitive advantage. The acquisition pushed Adidas into a strong No 2 Position with a twenty-one per cent share of the US $ 145-billion market for athletic shoes and sportswear worldwide.
Here’s the copy of the print ad, Impossible is Nothing that inspired everyone:
Impossible is just a big word thrown on around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they have been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
If that can be said for sportswear, what can be said about your brand that is alleviating and even life saving?