The Tanning of America
That's why it was so unprecedented when Adidas marketing executive Angelo Anastasio came to Madison Square Garden and was wowed enough by what he saw to strike the endorsement deal for the trio of rappers. As it was pointed out to me by Lyor Cohen (there that night as Run-DMC's road manager), the mainstream market appeal wasn’t the main selling point for Anastasio. The crowd that night was still mostly African-American, with a smaller percentage of Hispanic and Asian concertgoers and a sprinkling of white urban kids. But what made Anastasio different from other corporate representatives, according to Lyor, was his curiosity. He was simply open-minded enough to contemplate the possibilities of introducing hip-hop to the marketing machinery behind Adidas sneakers.
When Lyor described that night and how everything fell into place, it occurred to me how important curiosity is in general for tanning to occur. And as a marketing 101 lesson, one that I had to learn and one I have to remind corporate clients not to forget, advertising dollars don’t mean a thing without genuine curiosity about what consumers want and need. In fact, as Lyor recalled, while the Adidas/Run-DMC alliance did well for all concerned—saving the company from extinction—it could have been much more successful. Unfortunately, instead of gaining consumer insights and bringing Run, DMC, or Jam Master Jay in on designing the footwear and in on how to promote their line of sneakers, the company took over for Angelo and ran a campaign with the old-school "father knows best" approach. They let the designers try to figure out the culture and design into it without a true understanding of the consumer. They marketed via the monologue that dictates cool rather than inviting consumers to partake in the cool. That said, the Adidas missteps were going to be lessons learned for certain entrepreneurs who were paying attention and whose business wheels were starting to turn. For them, it was fortunate that there were mainstream corporate haters who even by the late 1980s weren’t curious enough to even consider hip-hop's musical future. Why do I say that it was fortunate for these entrepreneurs? Because it allowed them and local economies to benefit and prime the pump for everyone else to follow suit.
In the UK, we had a time from 60's mods, right through the 70's, and into 80's football casuals, by the time we saw Run DMC wearing them, it was already an institution.
In Germany it's the national sports brand since inception. In terms of what Adidas means to Germans as a cultural identifier, the Run DMC/My Adidas episode was a minor, foreign happening. Some Americans running around with "our" stuff on. Remarkable, if anything, only in chauvinistic terms, considering that German contributions to popular culture during the last 70 years have been mostly insignificant compared to Americas overwhelming definition of the age.
Can't bear having any other shoe on my feet. Whole closet full of Adidas training gear. Love their golf equipment, including the TMAG tour ball. It was never lost on me that Adidas was a European brand. Before Nike was the rage, everyone wanted Adidas tennis shoes back in the 70s.
Originally Posted by ngeso
Just good, classy, functional stuff.
On the low, Adidas gave Run-DMC, 1-Million dollars to promote Adidas sneakers in 1985(1-Million split 3 ways was mad money for 1985/LOL), I used to see Run, D/DMC, And Jay hawk for adidas at a spot on Jamaica ave in Jamaica,Queens called, 'Mr.Lee's',(Mad cool asian cat who was well-respected in the community, Run, D and Jay used to always sport the fat-laces(Cats from New York know what i'm referring too/LOL), Whenever Run-DMC was sportin adidas, Infact, I
Remember when Run-DMC was a guest on David Brenner's talk show in 1986, Run was mad buggin by putting his feet on David Brenner's desk during the interview
and David Brenner took off Run's Adidas and threw them in crowd/LOL, Run ordered Hurricane(Who was security for Run-DMC back then in 1986, Before Hurricane was down as the Beestie Boys Dj in 1986/87), Well, Run ordered Hurricane to get his adidas that David Brenner(Playfully/LOL), Threw in the crowd, Hurricane
Gave Run his Adidas back to him, Along with Hurricane lookin at David Brenner(Who was a legendary comedian during the 1970's,80's), Mad hard(Like Hurricane wanted to step to David Brenner regardless of what Run-DMC said to him).
'My Adidas', By Run-DMC(1985)