by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) This week I’m taking a look at Adidas’s bid to capture market share with its ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities campaign.

A sneaker is a sneaker is a sneaker, right? Wrong! Walk into a retail store, peruse the shoe rack, and it is glaringly obvious that sneakers are no longer just something you put on your foot — they’re a lifestyle statement. Look at how much attention is paid to sporty-looking footwear by today’s youth market. Sneakers have a key place in youth culture, which is why this market is hotly contested by apparel and sportswear brands. There’s gold in them thar sneakers, dude.


The sneaker as a style item traces its evolution from strictly sports-orientated track/tennis shoes to the hip-hop era and on to the modern product that sees every brand, from Levi Strauss to Nike to Reebok, all creating a dazzling variety of everyday footwear. The brand image is as important as factors such as comfort and durability, and reaching that youth market in the most impactful way is critical.

For young people (and that includes the 20-somethings), sneakers are a statement of self, of originality. More so, they’re a declaration of creativity. Ergo, tapping into the youth footwear market means connecting to what matters most to South Africa’s youth. (Advertising just doesn’t cut it with this hyperactive, multi-screening, distracted set.)

Today’s youth are ad-skippers, two-screeners, cord-cutters; conventional advertising doesn’t reach them as effectively as it does their parents. Time is short, so this hour’s funny cat Vine is forgotten as soon as a new freak car crash appears on Vimeo. Bite-sized, engaging content is where it’s at.

adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 01 adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 02 adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 04 adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 05 adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 06 adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 07 adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 08 adidas ZX FLUX Infinite Possibilities screengrab 09Trend in youth marketing

The trend in youth marketing is about producing content; it is also about giving credence to the fact that this generation is a media-making generation. Everybody has a camera in their phone, so everybody is a photographer and a videographer. With the “Infinite Possibilities” campaign, Adidas taps into the creativity that is intrinsic to youth culture.

I have written before about how Red Bull ‘gets’ this, and how its ownership of extreme sports and association with popular music (not to mention those amazing stunt planes) make the energy-drink maker part of the youth zeitgeist. Red Bull’s pioneering content marketing is not just a case of sponsoring events; it’s about associating the brand with all that is adrenaline-fuelled and cutting-edge.

Similarly, the Adidas campaign is tied strongly to its flagship product, the ZX FLUX sneaker range. A series of short films has been created, featuring young creative talent from SA, including graffiti artists, performance artists, DJs, photographers and filmmakers.

Influential young creatives

The latest short movie, entitled “What you see, is what I feel”, features influential young creatives: tattoo artist Tyler B Murphy, custom type designer Jordan Metcalf, street artist Fuzzy Slipperz, dancer Robyn Brophy and music producer Peach Van Pletzen (who created the soundtrack for the film). In the three-minute 30-second mini-documentary, the five artists talk about their relationship with their art, in a very honest, unpretentious way. The camera shows all the work in process, as each artist creates a new work.

“When you do any sort of creative work,” says one, “You have this amazing opportunity to put something into the world that’s never existed before.”

The theme of ‘Infinite Possibilities’ runs through the movie, as all the artists talk about the creative process and how it’s impossible to know up-front what the outcome will be.

Mental space

The movie is shot with a very ‘moody’ atmosphere — lots of night-time shots, dark interiors, overcast exteriors. The colours are not desaturated, however, so even though it’s subdued, it’s not depressing. The soundtrack consists only of the various subjects’ voices, and the music theme, which builds and draws you into the mental space of the artists. Each work of art is developed and finally revealed, so by the time you get to the end, you feel you know each artist.

This campaign works because it accepts a certain level of maturity in its audience. Yes, the artists are all wearing various pieces of Adidas gear, but that’s almost incidental. The content is engaging, something that young creatives can relate to.

Conventional advertising is about telling the audience what the brand wants it to hear. In this format, the message has moved from telling to doing — less authority and more action, less talking and more listening, less selling and more helping.

A high five to ANDPEOPLE and Adidas for realising that marketing has evolved. Even more so for promoting emerging creatives.


Director: Nelis Botha
Featuring original composition by Peach van Pletzen
1st AC: Werner Botha
Sound: Hencas van Huyssteen
Titles: Robyn Newham
Behind-the-scenes: Werner Botha

Windhoek Frontier DraughtCheers to great work from Windhoek and!
Windhoek loves pure genius like it loves pure beer and will be dropping off a drink at this week’s winning agency so the team may celebrate in pure style!

Brewed over 21 days, under the expert eye of master brewer Christian Mueller, Windhoek adheres to the ancient Reinheitsgebot law, literally “purity of beer”, which was implemented in 1516 when the Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria announced that only barley, hops and water were to be used.

Windhoek tag line

Oresti Patricios


Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at


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