Brands I Love: Adidas – Impossible is Nothing

When I was growing up, soccer was my Ali_Impossible_Is_Nothingsport of choice despite the fact I lived in the very football crazy town of Canton, Ohio (home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame).  I started playing when I was six years old and since that time, Adidas has been one of my favorite brands.  In the early years, the brand served as a statement for us soccer players because Adidas was a soccer brand.  It was a way to show the world (or at that time, the school) who we were and what we were about.  In that sense, I loved my Adidas Samba shoes and today I’m probably on my 15th pair of them.  Adidas has, and always will be, a lovemark for me.

That lovemark status helps drive my infatuation with their “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign.  In fact, I have a picture of the campaign hanging behind my desk at work to serve as everyday inspiration.  What I find interesting is the contrast behind Nike and Adidas.  Both are extremely successful companies and both have amazing marketing (possibly two of the best in the world).  But why is Nike just a brand I respect while Adidas is a brand I love?  Well in my eyes it all comes down to positioning.

Nike is inspiration for the field, while Adidas is inpsiration for every day life:  When I think about my favorite Nike advertising, plenty of greats spots come to mind ranging from There Are No Cinderellas to Jaffe’s Tiger Did It to Jordan’s XXI.  They are amazing inspiration about performing on the field and what it takes to make it.  In fact, they are some of the greatest advertising every created.  Adidas on the other hand uses sports to show inspiration in everywhere.  In the Beckahm ad they write:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.  Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion.  Impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare.  Impossible is potential.  Impossible is temporary.  Impossible is nothing.” 

This is true inspiration for conquering the so-called “impossible” in every day life.  There is no brand in the world that does a better job of inspiring athletes than Nike.  No question about it.  Adidas recognizes that and inspires the rest of the world in their every day life. 

Adidas somehow balances the line of fashion and sports:  I’ve always been intrigued that Adidas can be a stellar athletic company, but then at the same time, they have their Adidas Originals and Adicolor in the fashion world.  I love that blend that company creates of playing in both worlds and it speaks to me as a person.  I never want to be seen as one dimensional and Adidas recognizes that.  Nike can be for those guys that just want to be seen as athletes or sports guys.  I’ll stick with Adidas where the brand means you have more than just one layer to yourself.

Adidas truly is a lovemark for me.  They are a brand that wears many hats, but does it well.  In many ways, they are also the underdog because they are never the “one to beat” in the industry.  I think that is part of the inspiration for me.  I like cheering for David to beat Goliath.

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3 Responses to Brands I Love: Adidas – Impossible is Nothing

  1. Robby Wells says:

    I could go on and on about my love for the adidas brand. As a matter of fact, I think I love the brand far more than the product – how does that happen? I have heard ad people rip the “impossible is nothing” line, but I really think those people are the ones that fail to see the bigger picture of what those three words actually mean to adidas and athletes. Leave it to an industry critic to shoot something great down.

    Anyways… as much as Jay-Z is starting to wear thin with me, all this talk about ‘impossible’ reminds me of my all time favorite Jay-Z lyrics:

    “Difficult takes a day. Impossible takes a week.”

    Adidas is right… Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion.

  2. Dave Knox says:

    Well put Robby. I actually think I am in the same boat of loving the brand more than the product. Go figure. Thanks always for the thoughts.

  3. Matt says:

    Nice article.
    I’m with you on the reasons for exposure to and liking the brand initially. Being involved in soccer, Adidas was one of the very few companies that supported the sport as widely as they did (Puma and Diadora were the only near alternatives).
    Boy was I mad when the U.S. national team went with Nike, to me they jumped in for the money while Adidas supported the game even in places where it wasn’t the biggest sport.
    I’m happy Nike didn’t get the German National team contract – that would have been sacrilegious!

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