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Evolution: Impossible Is Nothing

March 16, 2007

throw a few athletes in an art studio with lots of art supplies — what do you get? for adidas, they got a fantastic new campaign lining their theme “impossible is nothing”. more than 30 international sports stars and everyday athletes tell their ‘Impossible’ stories using their own hand-drawn illustrations and paintings. each athlete chose a defining moment in their life and then illustrated it through images and words which would later be combined to create the campaign. this created a wealth of material which consumers will see in commercial films, posters, books, documentaries, exhibitions and even clothing designs. (how smart!!!) in film, print, digital, and retail content, the athletes’ real-life experiences come to life through animated films and static images created by the athletes themselves. the results are deeply personal, edgy and refreshingly honest.

the integrated campaign will launch simultaneously on a global and local level and includes 21 TV commercials, 15 documentaries, 1 long-format film, behind the scenes footage, print, large scale outdoor as well as exclusive digital content to be found on The artwork created by the athletes will also be featured in a travelling exhibition that kicks off in March.

the concept, created and executed by adidas’ global advertising partner 180 Amsterdam (180/TBWA) is the latest in a long line of successful collaborations between the two in recent years. from the original ‘Impossible is Nothing’ launch campaign in 2004 which was built around Muhammad Ali, to the memorable meeting of English ‘kicking gods’ David Beckham and Jonny Wilkinson and, most recently, the award-winning football World Cup campaign +10.

here’s a summary of their project:

check out the latest work for adidas and you’ll be the judge. i think you’ll love it as well!

“you will go through tough times. it’s about coming through that.”
David Beckham: Footballer; England Captain 2000 – 2006

“My name is David Beckham and this is my story.
I still look back to ‘98,
Of course I wish it hadn’t have happened,
How I sort of reacted as a young boy,
I think I cried for about 5 or 10 minutes literally,
I’m feeling goose bumps now.
I was having death threats,
I never felt safe for 3.5 years.
It can knock a person down so much that they just go under,
After I scored the goal against Greece,
All of the sports writers, they just stood up and started clapping me,
To have that from the harshest critics,
That was a huge thing,
You will go through tough times,
It’s about coming through that.”

don’t you just love his accent? i saw this ad today in the cinema and that got me intrigued to find out more about the campaign.

“People putting you down can drive you to do things you didn’t even think you could do yourself.”
Allyson Felix: 200 M Sprinter; World Champion

“Even a small victory is a good place to start.”
St Margaret’s: Under-13 Football Team

“Sometimes bad things can turn out good.”
Lionel Messi: Footballer; FIFA U-20 World Cup Champion

“You have to fight for every step of the way to your impossible.”
Jonah Lomu: Rugby Player; New Zealand All Black 1994 – 2002

“When no-one else believes in you – believe in yourself.”
Gilbert Arenas: Basketball Player; NBA All Star

“You’ve got to start somewhere, you’ve got to finish somewhere, and you’ve got to be focused doing it.”
Jeremy Wariner: 400m Sprinter; Olympic Gold Medalist

behind the scenes video for one of the ads:

more videos are available via Youtube. here’re some screenshots of the campaign website:

can’t help but fall in love with the story and idea behind this campaign. through stories of real people attempting and achieving what once seemed like impossible goals, adidas hopes to inspire people to think about their own obstacles and how to overcome them. i was greatly inspired by the athletes’ stories. you see their achievements and they become your idols. but you never thought they had to go through tough times to get to where they are right now.

quote from Eric Liedtke, SVP Global Brand Marketing for adidas, “With this campaign we get a glimpse of the athletes not at the finish line, but rather at a pivotal point in their journey. When you witness the victory, the end result, it is not always clear how they got there or what they had to overcome along the way. By sharing the journey and, more specifically, a challenge that was encountered along the way we get to a place that is truly inspiring and not often seen. We believe that by giving everyone a glimpse behind the scenes of lives of these athletes, we really will be encouraging them to attempt their own journey.”

to end off, i’ll like to leave you with a thought from Richard Bullock, Executive Creative Director, 180 Amsterdam — Wouldn’t it be amazing if all advertising could be this inspiring and meaningful?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2007 1:09 am

    That’s a great post, thanks!

  2. donnie permalink
    March 27, 2007 6:27 am

    these ads made me cry

  3. Arif permalink
    March 27, 2007 10:15 am

    Do you have the dialog for all ads beside Beckham?? Like Gilbert Arenas and all his words? Because this is very inspiring for me.

  4. Ben permalink
    April 4, 2007 3:51 am

    amazing very touchin awesome advertising i would buy addais now just for that advert a lot more shud be like that!!!

  5. Ben permalink
    April 4, 2007 3:59 am

    very iinspiring
    best advert seen in all my life maybe i now think postive and know there are goals you can achieve impossible is nothing

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