Adidas diner is open for business

Developed by Montreal-based Sid Lee, Adidas Originals' new Mega Diner campaign could be headed to Canada come spring 2011.  

Adidas Originals is serving up something different south of the border and it’s set to be on the menu in Canada come spring 2011.
The Adidas Originals Mega Diner opened its doors in the U.S. at the end of July, providing patrons with footwear instead of food – modernized versions of the brand’s Softcell and Torison shoes as part of its Mega collection. 
Developed by Montreal-based Sid Lee, the campaign includes TV, online interactive and ads, social media, in-store retail displays and a real Mega Diner that was set up at Lollapalooza.
On TV, young people burst in to the diner from a street party. One orders something “fresh,” only to be served a pair Softcells by rapper B.o.B. The online experience allows patrons to place their own orders to find out what best suits their tastes.
Adidas Canada is waiting until spring 2011 to launch the Mega collection here,  but  when it does, it’ll do so with one of the brand’s largest Canadian spring launches. 
“We will go guns a-blazin’, tying in one of our key retail partners here, and really create an integrated campaign based on the 2011 creative, which will come out of our global offices,” says Jeff Cooper, director, marketing and communications, Adidas Canada. He adds that there may be an opportunity to repeat the creative in play for this 2010 campaign.
We asked Hilary Lloyd, deputy marketing manager at Ikea Canada, and Steph Mackie, CD at Lowe Roche, whether or not the Mega Diner effort goes down easy and what Adidas Canada should do to make the spring 2011 campaign palatable for Canadians.

Overall strategy
Lloyd: Adidas’s “Mega Diner” is a strong example of an integrated campaign that keeps its audience in mind, letting them “test, try and engage” across several media channels. Whether a “Diner” is a relevant lifestyle environment for this young savvy target could be challenged with the campaign’s TV, but the campaign works very well in non-traditional media where users need a space to interact with the new Mega collection. 
Mackie: It’s refreshing when there isn’t so much hard-sell jammed in that it backfires – something especially important with this target. This campaign does well in keeping the product from taking itself too seriously. My only question is if they’ve given people a reason to return to the site.

Lloyd: The Diner concept is very successful when it can be experienced. Whether it’s at Lollapalooza, or on their microsite, the Diner environment gives users a venue to explore and engage. Their orders are literally served up with relevant content, and social media gives them a venue to make sure friends join them at the table.
Mackie: If you can wait out the slow load time, the site is nicely executed, with some tasty art direction/animation. But after such a big build-up and the whole randomizer game, I’m left feeling, “That’s it?” simply because the product offering wasn’t as rewarding as I was expecting.

Lloyd: I’d say the TV rides that fine line between satire and artificiality, particularly with this young market. When satire works, your target believes you understand them. When it doesn’t, you risk being read as inauthentic. Perhaps Adidas’s unbelievably authentic and successful “Originals” campaign gave them permission to poke more fun and be playful here.
Mackie: The campaign is pretty well rounded with a nicely put together TV spot and website, a Facebook page that’s actually populated and active Twitter feeds. Though I haven’t seen the Lollapalooza Adidas shoebox Mega Diner, it sounds like the best idea of the bunch.

The Canadian launch
Lloyd: While I might reconsider the TV, I think the diner concept provides a strong foundation for a campaign that will resonate with young Canadians. It’s strongest and hardest working in media environments where the target is most accessible. Digitally and experientially, “Mega Diner” provides an ideal venue for participation and engagement. One suggestion: let’s find a space for some local urban content.
Mackie: Should Adidas use this exact creative in Canada next spring? I would say no. Though the idea could work up here, any U.S. campaign worth its salt, especially one that is digitally based, will have been seen in Canada as well. It would be smart of Adidas to make the product lineup more robust so Canadians don’t feel like we’re getting shoe leftovers.

The creds client Adidas Originals; agency Sid Lee; production management Jimmy Lee; production house Partizan LA; director Ace Norton; VFX Motor VFX; music mix Apollo; sound design and mix Boogie Studio