For love or money?
With the saturation of brand placement in a wide range of categories, do we recognise it as an endorsement deal, or an authentic act of loyally by a consumer? A little music video by ‘midetempo 1970s-style funk’ band Jungle made me start to question where is the line drawn between the simple love and appreciation of a brand vs a paid endorsement?
Jungle’s rise to fame was really only a matter of time. Emerging in 2013 with the ‘Platoon’ video, more singles ‘The Heat’, ‘Busy Earnin’ and ‘Time’ hit, all had a common thread; wonderfully-choreographed videos featuring artists wearing Adidas. The identity’s of the band (J and T) were kept secret, for a while. It seemed like an obvious assumption that Adidas really had their hands deeply in the pocket of the music industry.
Watch the video here.
Now aside from my first thought – synchronized roller-skating in mind blowing! I got a bit hung up on the fact that they were decked out in adidas. As a brand designer I jumped to the conclusion this was another brand placement deal that was organised to bring the popular sportswear brand publicity and inevitably sales. Watching more videos, the same common thread appeared, addidas clad creatives doing what they do best (mostly dancing to the funky beats). My assumptions were true, this had to be a money making endorsement.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
In an interview it was revealed by J and T they put the clothing in the videos due to their pure love of the product, and dedication to the brand. It was a fun thing they just decided to add. Pretty powerful stuff I guess you could say? Or free advertising at least? Is this brand loyalty at its finest? Have we gotten so used to assuming people are advertising to make money and increase sales that it turns you off? That was my initial reaction….
It is of no new revelations that Adidas has had a large impact on the music industry for decades. In the 1980s, RUN DMC became the world’s first mainstream rap group. They were HUGE adidas fans and popularised wearing Adidas Superstars without laces. In 1986 they even released a song called ‘My Adidas’ which led to the group signing a $1.6 million endorsement deal, the first of its kind. This was only the beginning as we see Korn write a song titled A.D.I.D.A.S and Limp Bizkit, Jamiroquai and Jay Kay wear adidas in their videos. It was really embedded as a part of the Adidas originals culture as a brand.
The Originals brand began to collaborate with some of the music industries biggest influencers, firstly Missy Elliot in 2006, but more recently we have seen lines come out from Rita Ora, Pharrell Williams and Kayne West.
I was initially really turned off with what appeared like brand placement, but after finding out it is due the bands loyalty and love of the adidas brand, for some reason I now look forward to spotting the adidas jumpsuit on a britsh man dancing hip hop in their videos….