Adidas Uses Tall Tales to Promote Latest Shoe

Adidas’ latest branding campaign, starring basketball star Tracy McGrady, uses storytelling and metaphors to boost the brand of its new basketball shoe. In the multi-media effort, print executions will lead readers online to find out the end of the story.

The “Folklore” series of TV, print and online ads are designed to promote the Houston Rockets forward’s signature shoe, the T-MAC5, the name of which is derived from McGrady’s nickname, “T-MAC.” San Francisco-based TBWA/Chiat/Day created the campaign.

In the first TV spot, which will be available online once it airs on TV, McGrady performs near-impossible feats that correspond to the tales being told by a group of kids discussing his performance. By the end of the spot, McGrady will have flown through the air, changed into a wild animal, broken the arms of a defender, caught on fire and been doused by rain — all during the course of the basketball game the kids describe.

The “Folklore” TV campaign will debut on NBC on Saturday during a college football game, and after that will air on national network and cable television, including ESPN, ESPN2, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and TNT.

Print executions will follow the Folklore theme and start with a truth that becomes a story of mythical proportions. The ads will finish open-ended, inviting readers to come online to the Adidas basketball Web site to find out more.

The Web site invites visitors to preview the TV spot, sign up to be notified when the full version is released online, or reserve a pair of the shoes before they become available at the end of the month.

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