Peeking Urban Art with Adidas, Berlin


In the last year Adidas emerged as an unassuming protagonist for mobile-driven marketing.  By building applications and experiences that create new value for users, Adidas manages to promote its street wear and give it real street cred where credit's due. Whereas other companies and actors in the private sector are eager to talk about mobile marketing as the 'new wave' [sidenote: At a Mid-Atlantic Mobile Monday meeting in Philly last May, I heard this refrain uttered upward of 300 times], very few are really talking about creating new value, new experiences for users.

Adidas debuted its Urban Art Guide application in Berlin iphone application in early spring of 2009, curating and giving voice to the the city's street as a catalogue would chronicle paintings in an art gallery.  As art enthusiasts roam the cavernous city, the Art Guide delivers location-specific articles on a work by work basis.

While enhancing an existing connection essential to the vitality and authenticity of their brand,  Adidas gives city dwellers get a modified view of the art that veils their city and simultaneously earns a renewed place in the palm of their hand or the sole of their foot. They see it as a simple extension of the Adidas lifestyle:

adidas doesn't only play a central role in HipHop since its beginnings like Run DMC's smash hit "My adidas" shows. The brand itself has been inspired by this subculture early on. In 1985 the adicolor prompts its owners to see the shoe like a subway wagon and design it wildstyle, with bubble letters or throw ups. Customizing along the lines of Graffiti.   On the occasion of the adicolor relaunch in 2006 in Berlin adidas Originals did not only put up white poster boards for free painting. They also initiated the adicolor Studio where Urban Artists like Fafi, Toy2R, Todd McFarlane or Artoo could work and exhibit and design their own sneakers. With the Urban Art Guide adidas Originals continues its long tradition and supports one of the most agile and influential youth cultures worldwide.

Propelled by the success of the Berlin edition, Adidas plans to launch a second guide sometime next year.  It is the process of polling the public on the favored location of this guide.  Hamburg is currently leading the polls with a lion's share, tailed by Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich and Vienna.

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