NEWS: Adidas plays on its own heritage

Leagas Delaney has unveiled a nostalgic global campaign for the sportswear giant, Adidas, in the run-up to this summer’s Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Leagas Delaney has unveiled a nostalgic global campaign for the

sportswear giant, Adidas, in the run-up to this summer’s Olympic Games

in Atlanta.

The campaign seeks to underline Adidas’s Olympic heritage, as the

company has a long connection with the games, having equipped sporting

legends such as Emil Zatopek, Nadia Comaneci and Daley Thompson.

Shot on location in Los Angeles, Cuba and Germany, the campaign includes

one 60-second launch commercial and four 40-second spots.

All the films, which are narrated by the actor, John Hurt, use the

endline ‘We knew then, we know now’, and were directed by the Douglas

Brothers through D Films.

The first film in the campaign, dubbed ‘the past’, recreates moments of

atheletic achievement in past Olympics, such as Bob Beamon’s historic

long jump and Jesse Owens’ triumph in the 1936 games in Berlin, when he

scooped four gold medals.

The ad depicts the journey made by Adidas - from 1920 in Germany to 1996

in Atlanta - through the eyes of its founder, Adi Dassler, and aims to

show that the spirit of Dassler will still be present this year in


The commercial was written and art directed by Tim Delaney, Leagas

Delaney’s creative director.

In the second spot, the modern Cuban sprinter, Ana Quirot, tells the

inspiring story of the handicapped American sprinter, Rudolph, who won

three gold medals in the 1960 games in Rome, having overcome a serious

childhood illness that forced her to wear steel braces and orthopaedic


Subsequent 40-second commercials introduce today’s sporting stars

alongside their Olympic heroes. For example, in one we see Donovan

Bailey, the 100-metres sprinter, preparing for Atlanta with Owens’

achievement and technical approach foremost in his mind.

The commercial mixes re-created footage of Owens, who we see observing

the movement of thoroughbred horses in full stride under the eye of the

coach, Charles Riley, with shots of Bailey applying Owens’ running

technique, which revolutionised sprinting.

The commercial ends with Bailey eulogising: ‘The spirit of Jesse Owens

will be running in Donovan Bailey’s shoes in Atlanta.’

The campaign will run on worldwide television and cinema, breaking in

the UK next week.

Robert Louis Dreyfus, the Adidas president, said: ‘This advertising

demonstrates Adidas’s pre-eminence as the sports brand of choice for the

very best athletes in the world, past, present and future.’

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