The Adidas Originals “Original Is Never Finished” campaign took home the Grand Prix for the Entertainment for Music Award at the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In the ad, athletes, stars and models take part in a reworked, modern take on Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” while vivid visuals transcend from one scene to the next. Rival sportswear company Nike was also in the running for its “We the People” campaign, featuring a touching “new national anthem” performed by Chance the Rapper, but Adidas’ originality (pun intended) eventually came out on top.
Created by Johannes Leonardo and directed by Terence Neal of the innovative RSA Films, the spot includes cameos from the likes of rapper Snoop Dogg, artist Petra Collins and NBA veteran Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in addition to emerging faces such as the Lakers’ Brandon Ingram. In the campaign, the overarching concept of originality as an evolving process was at the forefront, from Collins’ contemporary take on Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” to Snoop Dogg’s reimagining of his classic “Doggystyle” album cover.
Alongside the “My Way”-backed spot, other components of the campaign included three music videos that went live online and on social media at the campaign’s Grammys debut.
Entertainment for Music jury president Olivier Robert-Murphy, global head of new business at Universal Music Group, explained what makes the Adidas campaign stand out. “It’s a mantra of creativity, and that’s what the Cannes Lions is all about,” he said. “It took the most overused song and totally reinvented it. The name of the shoes is Originals, and they took that [idea] and turned it into a multiplatform success. It used a new generation of creatives to really find the meaning of originality, which was a perfect fit.”
As for Nike’s “We the People” entry by Wieden + Kennedy, which took home both a Gold and Silver Lion in the same category, the unity-driven message was in fact a front-runner, though Adidas still won with a unanimous vote by the judges. Juror Matt Eastwood, JWT global chief creative, explained that Adidas’ more universal message edged them over their footwear competition, whose message skewed more toward an American audience.
“We loved the philosophy of ‘Original Is Never Finished,'” Eastwood said. “You could put that under the Cannes logo, and it would be a perfect fit. We loved the synergy of the mission of that festival and the mission of the campaign.”
Also, check out Nike’s video below.