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Adidas Originals came to Firstborn with the opportunity to name, position, and help launch a new line of NMD and Hardcourts for a drop across four national retailers—Champs Sports, Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, and Footaction. Not only was this one of the biggest NMD drops to date, but it was also the first Hardcourt release in years.

All we were handed was a low-res render of the shoes and the moodboard of ‘90s hip-hop references that inspired the design. Big logos. Loud prints. And bold everything. The shoes themselves were the perfect distillation of those references, but updated for a new generation of creators. They’re meant to inspire a target audience obsessed with remixing and re-working the past, putting their own creative spin on things to help drive the culture forward. It’s a creative process rooted in social media—endlessly iterative, overly public, and constantly broadcasting to the world. So, as a nod to the always-on, always creating culture of our target, we dubbed this drop the “Transmission Pack.” With the Transmission Pack, our challenge was to create one cohesive brand system that was unique enough for each of the retailers involved in the launch. Everything needed to feel similar, but distinct enough from brand to brand. So, we looked to the shoes and drew our inspiration from the repeating patterns and oversized logos that made this iteration of the NMD and Hardcourt so recognizable.

Like the sneakers themselves, the art direction is an eclectic pastiche of visuals.

It isn’t shy about showing off its inspiration. Patterns run with the bombardment of repetitive text and logos found on the shoe, allowing us to bring them to life in motion and in the interactive space. The organic forms of the shoelaces translated themselves into dynamic 3D ribbons—customized for each retailer, but still rooted in the urban textures and colors central to the shoes’ DNA. To match those 3D ribbons, we also meticulously rendered each shoe in 3D, giving us ultimate freedom to animate shoes and ribbons interacting in adidas-branded space. For photography, we kept things real and raw, casting models that would resonate with our target and shooting them in the urban environments they inhabit. Each retailer had its own model, helping us keep things feeling unique for the different brands. Art direction paired with photos from these model shoots made up the majority of in-store and social assets. BTS footage and 3D animations helped promote the Transmission Pack across the retailers’ social channels.
We meticulously rendered each shoe in 3D, giving us ultimate freedom to animate shoes and ribbons interacting in adidas-branded space.

For photography, we kept things real and raw, casting models that would resonate with our target and shooting them in the urban environments they inhabit.

We had our name and we had our look, but we still needed a way to launch these shoes in a way that would get our target excited—and get them buying. But how do you create a campaign for an audience whose personality is always in flux? How do you create a campaign for a group of people who are, by their own admission, in the process of figuring out who they are and what they actually care about? You create something that celebrates that process and gets them involved in shaping… everything. We called it, “Creativity in Process.” At its core, the campaign was about giving fans an in-depth, rarely seen look at the work that goes into creating a piece of art—from ideation to final execution. We partnered with some of New York’s most inspiring artists, challenging them to create a brand new piece of art inspired by the Transmission Pack. We kept things local, working with artists living and working within a few blocks of each other and exhibited their art in those same neighborhoods. Then, we invited our fans into the process, getting them involved and opening up opportunities for collaboration—like an interactive, public process diary on Google Docs where they could comment and leave feedback on the artist’s work. We also made use of the polls feature on Instagram, giving our fans a direct line of communication to our artists. This allowed us to solicit real-time feedback from our target and get them involved in the final artistic output. The result of all this collaboration? Three brand new pieces of art and three videos documenting the process from start to finish.
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At its core, the campaign was about giving fans an in-depth, rarely seen look at the work that goes into creating a piece of art—from ideation to final execution.

But we weren’t done. As the capstone of the campaign, we worked with adidas Originals and Champs Sports to go behind the process of the most talked-about running back in the NFL: the New Orleans Saints’ very own Alvin Kamara. We talked to him about style, creativity, and collaboration, uncovering the importance of self-expression on and off the field. We also went on AK’s famous walk to the Superdome—the weekly ritual he has before and after every Saints home game—and heard about how vital the walk is to his own process. But our walk wasn’t just any walk. We jazzed things up, getting the community involved and throwing a second line parade as we wound our way through the streets of NOLA and to the stadium. And yes, of course there was a brass band and a motorcycle gang. The adidas Originals Transmission Pack isn’t shy about showing off its inspirations. And with this campaign, we took sneaker fans deeper into the creative process than ever before—holding up a mirror to the culture and creating something that truly resonated with our target of young creators.
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