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In the wake of the President elect Donald Trump's shock victory, social media was awash with commentary. Yet, brands stood by pretending that November 9th was like any other day on the calendar. Brands must remain apolitical - but that does not mean that they can't say anything. Paralysed by fear, big brands who had the influence, reach and brand equity to be part of this historic cultural moment, allowed it to slip through their fingers.
Adidas is the perfect example.
One would think that a brand with the tagline #impossibleisnothing, would have something to say about Trumps achievement. But, I suppose even a post saying "We have always said #impossibleisnothing" was deemed to be too risque. Well, at Culturel we love taking risks...strategic ones of course!
The Strategy
Challenge/Opportunity: Articulate “Impossible Is Nothing” in a way that resonates with generation Z.
Cultural Insight: Generation Z are born digital. They grew up with social media and it is often through these digital channels they communicate their politically and societal points of view. They even developed their own languages and forms of communications (e.g.memes) through which they articulate themselves. 
Consumer Insight: This generation expect and want their voices to be heard at both a societal and political level. They are more aspirational than any generation before them and having witnessed the rise and acceptance of stars like Stormzy and Skepta into mainstream society, has confirmed their belief that dreams can come true and it no longer matters who you are or where you are from.

The Idea
Stormzy 2020 would have been a social campaign with some outdoor elements. It would have launched on 9th November when Trump's victory was announced. Of course, we did not know Trump would win, but we would have prepared weeks in advance on the presumption that he would.
Step 1 (1- 2 days) - Announce Stormzy's intent to stand in the 2020 election.
Stormzy would announce his candidacy via his social media channel. Using popular meme curators on Instagram, we would spread the word with specially designed memes to fuel the debate - "Is this a joke or is Stormzy is being serious."  A snapchat filter would also be created along with a campaign website.
The official slogan would of course be "Impossible is Nothing".
We would also partner with Complex magazine, and other major brands with cultural clout, to spread the news via their social channels. This would seemingly give credence to the belief that Stormzy is intending to run.
Step 2 (3 - 5 days) - Stormzy election posters would appear in the UK and USA.
These would appear in New York and London.

Step 3 (7 day) - Stormzy becomes the President of the Unites States of America
A video would be created which will chronicle Stormzy's campaign over the next 4 years ending with his inauguration speech. Stormzy's head would be super imposed over ex - presidents and candidates. At this point, it would be clear that this was a joke but the film should gain a lot of traction. 
Mutually Beneficial Partnership
Stormzy has been preparing to release his independent album over the past 12 months, so has been relevantly quiet on the music scene. This campaign will thrust him back into the spotlight, domestically and internationally, while providing him with opportunities to plug his debut album.
Adidas is authentically contributing to a vibrant cultural debate through an individual who is loved, and adored by millennials and generation Z alike. 
But is this not a bit risky given the controversial nature of the election?
No. First of all, Stormzy is British therefore could never run to be the US president. The brand is merely recognising (like everyone else) that this was a shock result without commenting whether they think it is bad or good. Stormzy would be running for his own "Merky" party, and would steer clear of any controversial rhetoric. This is a tongue in cheek hoax and will be presented as such. 
Stormzy is part of the Adidas Original team not the sports brand, surely his association will weaken the brand positioning of the latter?
Although the campaign borrows the tagline from the Adidas sports brand, this is a reactive campaign with a short life span. It should not have any lasting negative impact on what the sports brand stands for or represents. Also, given Stormzy's recent campaign with Paul Pogba, the legitimacy of this cross over would not be questioned by consumers.
Intended Outcomes
- Increased brand love amongst 16 - 24 year olds.
- Increased pre-orders of Stormzy new album.
The beauty of this campaign is that given its topical nature, the internet will take hold of it and amplify it beyond the reach of any paid media. Using meme curators will ensure that, just like the Joe Biden memes, people who have no affiliation with the brand or know who Stormzy is, are likely to engage with the campaign simply because its amusing! The brand missed a big opportunity here!

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Myles Manyonda

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  • Junior Strategist, HeyHuman

Project Tags

  • Strategy
  • Stormzy

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