“What the hell?” you think, watching TIE fighters zoom over Snoop Dogg and David Beckham with an urban backbeat. And then it clicks: Adidas is moving in on Nike one sports demo at a time. In January 2006 it bought Reebok, bringing total athletic shoe sales to No. 2 in the world. In April the same year it won an 11-year deal to be the official sponsor of the National Basketball Association. Adidas is all over Major League Soccer, in 2007 it announced a move into lacrosse, and it recently began stuffing computer chips and kangaroo leather into its highest-end shoes seeking halo differentiation. It now has little kids covered with a Disney tie-in. So, how to get more attention?
Star Wars! Um … Star Wars? Adidas’ new Darth Vadar mask seems curious, since the last Star Wars film was released in May 2005, until you realize it’s a smart tactic for infusing Adidas’ brand with a meme we all love. What better brand to jack up Adidas adrenaline than a big-bold outer space dream filled with fight scenes? And since nothing happens with Star Wars without George Lucas’s approval, it also makes you wonder … is more to come from the franchise, perhaps the 3-D film versions Lucas hinted about back in 2005? Is Adidas an early blip on the Luke Skywalker master marketing calendar?
Adidas’ current marketing slogan is “Impossible is Nothing.” That’s not as catchy as Nike’s old “Just Do It,” but as far as catching Nike, Adidas has $15.2 billion in sales vs. Nike’s $19.1 billion. Maybe nothing is impossible.