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Adidas’ “One In A Billion” Ad For China Targets Under Armour

CHENGDU, SICHUAN PROVINCE, CHINA - 2015/09/20: Adidas shop in Chengdu Tai Koo Li commercial district. In the first quarter of 2015, Adidas reported a 48 percent jump in revenue and 59 percent rise in pretax profit in Greater China. China’s annual per capita sportswear expenditure is only US$17, far below the average of US$94-142 in developed countries and US$285 in the US. Sports brands see strong potential in mainland market. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Titled “One in a Billion,” the Adidas ad begins from bird’s-eye view, looking down on a group of young men in red uniforms going through basketball drills, with their dribbles synched in unison. If you look closely, you can even recall spots of one of the brand’s biggest competitors, Under Armour.

Under Armour fans will notice that the first scene in the ad directly references Under Armour’s “Rule Yourself.” In a Droga5 campaign from 2015, thousands of clones of Tom Brady, Misty Copeland, Stephen Curry and others demonstrated the hard and mindless work that goes into being a world-class athlete.

This isn’t the first time Adidas has taken a shot at UA’s repetitive-training mind-set.

This first Chinese campaign from Adidas reminds viewers that every form of athleticism can is simultaneously an expression of one’s individual style. These would-be stars aren’t limited by sport, gender or even nationality. (Note David Beckham’s cameo.)

There’s still plenty of homeland pride to be found in a spot that also features appearances by Olympic volleyball player Hui Ruo Qui and swimmer Ning Ze Tao. But the big message here is that Adidas can help young competitors be individuals, too.

Under Armour’s recently announced plans to capture a bigger portion of the Chinese market, currently dominated by Nike and Adidas, might just have something to do with the competition.

Check out the new ad:

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