Product launches are not what they used to be.
We’re discussing the more inspired ways brands are building a connection with their consumer. This makes ‘thinking outside the box’ seem like child’s play.
Back in March, Adidas hosted Dystopian Futurehouse, the launch party for their new NMD trainers. The footwear is a reinvention of the classic Adidas design, combined with new fabric technology. Adidas used the concept of ‘the future being yours to define’ throughout the marketing of this product, and as part of their larger marketing campaign (#myfutureis).
Dystopian Futurehouse embodied this theme entirely. A product launch with a difference, there certainly were no yuppies sipping on prosecco here. This event was an experience to not only make you remember or share, but to inspire.
The launch took the form of a pop up installation in London’s trendy Shoreditch. Existing for six days and six nights, this event was open for the public to explore. Gone are the days of exclusivity and invite only, this event was accessible to everyone, in particular, the next generation of creatives.
The dystopian experience consisted of three rooms: Urban Wasteland Underground, Mirror City and Urban Waste Overground. It was built to reflect the urban, city lifestyle and with live music, workshops and art exhibitions, this event was so much more than promoting a pair of trainers. This bold and innovative experience related to the lifestyle of the new Adidas consumer, to connote a sense of individuality, creativity and aspiration. Brandon Beaty, the Director of Brand Communications for Adidas Originals says: “street culture is a playing field that we’re a part of, and we have to do that by listening to our consumer and being disruptive in pushing the status quo.”
Although Adidas did encourage user generated content, (‘‘EXPLORE_CREATE_SHARE’ was the tagline for the event), Adidas’ focus was to get the next generation of creatives to build their future with Adidas. This campaign is no quick hashtag and share, these guys are in for the long haul. And they need to be, with the constant competition with sportswear giant, Nike, Adidas have no time to drag their heels. If they don’t convert you, Nike most certainly will.
Adidas is by no means the only brand disrupting conventional marketing techniques. A couple of weeks ago, we were at G-Star with our brand new Freezus Curve. G-Star were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their iconic 5620 Elwood jeans. Constructed using 3D technology, there was no better way to promote this product than to create a 3D experience for guests to interact with. The experience emulated the spirit of the 5620 jeans: movement, energy and street edge. This is something the G-Star consumer relates to (or aspires to), and therefore the 3D experience encouraged engagement, sharing and creativity.
New approaches to brand engagement and product promotion are definitely risky. Adidas and G-Star are not sitting on the fence with their interactive brand experiences. The concrete, underground, neon Adidas installation will not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, the execution and uncompromising attitude will convert a good number of consumers, and as long as the brand stays relevant, their customers will stay loyal.
Taking a marketing risk can have huge pay off, and with Adidas and G-Star raising the bar, it is important to evolve with the movement. Just remember, the run of the mill product launch will not be remembered but an interactive and inspiring experience will.