Last month a provocative out-of-home campaign caught my attention.
The billboard contained just 13 words, one tagline, one logo... and 64 pairs of breasts.
"THE REASONS WE DIDN'T MAKE JUST ONE NEW SPORTS BRA."
As a marketer, I liked the creative concept behind the campaign: let's show how different breasts can be and make it obvious why just one sports bra won't work for everybody. Plus, showcasing 64 pairs of bare breasts on a billboard is bound to generate some earned media. (Spoiler alert: it did!)
But I suspected there was a problem with this particular execution, and to test my hypothesis, I showed this ad to my wife.
She's not a marketer, but she is the target audience for this particular product, and I was curious to see how she would react to the ad.
Me: "Babe, have a look at this ad..."
Wife, after looking at the photo for a moment: "Clever... who's it for?"
I knew this was an Adidas ad as soon as I saw it because I recognized the "Impossible is Nothing" tagline in the lower right of the billboard.
But I'm a marketer who pays attention to taglines.
My wife isn't... so that tree that happened to appear right in front of the three-stripes logo killed any chance of her associating this creative idea with Adidas... and any chance this ad would make her remember "Adidas" the next time she needed to purchase a sports bra.
Now I can already hear the response to this post from my creative friends: "Dude, there's no way anybody could have anticipated that tree blocking the logo!"
Yes, that tree blocking the logo was certainly unfortunate.
But this was a single billboard in Germany, and to the best of my knowledge, the only one that was executed as part of the campaign, which mostly relied on social posts... so one could have absolutely have known the tree would be there, and solved for it.
How? Well, I don't want to play Creative Director (which is something marketers will say right before they try to play Creative Director), but I think there was one thing that could have been changed very easily to ensure the logo was seen and the effectiveness of the billboard wasn't negatively impacted...
They could have made the logo bigger.
(Cue the groans from creative teams everywhere.)
Would it have looked as good, creatively? Perhaps not.
But if a larger logo would have made the average person more easily associate Adidas with the "bra for every shape and size" message being communicated, that would have been a great trade-off.
Choosing "aesthetic" over "effective" is usually a bad idea.
P.S. Here's a screenshot of the tweet that was sent as part of this campaign. And in fairness to Adidas, it's a lot easier to recognize this as an Adidas campaign when it's being sent from the official Adidas Twitter account.