Adidas Unveils the Boldface Stars of Its New Campaign for the Iconic Striped Sneaker

Everything old is cool again, it seems. To wit, today Adidas announced an ambitious relaunch campaign for the iconic three-stripe shell-toe Superstar sneaker, first introduced in 1969 and made famous by Run DMC. Unlike the recently updated Stan Smith sneaker, the Superstar never really went anywhere, it just hasn’t enjoyed a moment in the spotlight since the early aughts. But with a 45th anniversary to celebrate, Adidas has decided that’s about to change, courtesy of an updated quartet of music and sports, well, superstars.

Leading the charge is Adidas’ current bandleader, Pharrell Williams. He is accompanied by fellow chart-topper Rita Ora, plus NBA point guard Damian Lillard and model sportsman David Beckham. The campaign — overseen by creative agency Johannes Leonardo — includes both print and video components (scroll down to watch), the latter directed by Karim Huu Do. It features the chosen ones uttering lines like “If you think a superstar is people only having to use your first name to know who you are…” and ends with each proclaiming “I am not a superstar,” with the brand’s three-stripe graphic providing clever innuendo by crossing out the style name. The campaign will soon takeover New York’s Times Square and, no doubt, every other conceivable surface, but the real question is: Will style-setters, street-style denizens and bloggers everywhere take to this low-court kick in 2015 as they did to the refreshed Stan Smiths in 2014?

To find out, FN spoke to Adidas Sport Style director of brand marketing, Kelly Olmstead.

What sparked the idea for the campaign relaunch?
“Our Superstar shoe is an icon of the street and an influencer of culture. To relaunch, we are questioning what it means to be a superstar in 2015. Social media has completely redefined the concepts of self-expression, originality and creativity, so the campaign will question the need for external validation and celebrity worship.”

What effect did the successful relaunch of the Stan Smith have on this project?
“Like the Stan Smith, the Superstar reflects the zeitgeist on the street — a bold silhouette and confident style. The re-release of the Stan Smith was a huge success for us: Even FN named it the Shoe of the Year. We are excited to share this next chapter of the Superstar.”

What differentiates it?
“The Superstar was first released in 1969, designed for basketball. At that time, it was worn by most players on the courts. With the shell-toe identity, the Superstar really stands out. The Stan Smith was a tennis shoe originally, and its success is due to its clean silhouette. Both are classic silhouettes, representing different styles.”

What makes each of the new endorcers a superstar based on the campaign’s redefinition of the term?
“While these superstars all have different creative journeys, their original motivations from when they started out remain intact: Pharrell had a compelling need to create music, while Beckham just wanted to be the best footballer he could be. They weren’t chasing fame; fame was a byproduct of their dedication and hard work.”

What can we expect from Pharrell’s upcoming Supercolor collection?
“It reflects his creativity and style. It’s a celebration of equality through diversity. It’s a way for everybody to choose his or her color, but importantly, within the same style shoe.”

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