Guerrilla marketing rocks Adidas during Berlin Fashion Week

“Too good to be true?” asked those who attended a surprisingly crowded off-program show on the first day of Berlin Fashion Week on Monday (January 16). Looks of astonishment and faces of astonishment among the dozens of guests at the supposed presentation of the new brand identity of the German giant Adidas. This was presented as conscious, sustainable and socially responsible.

The pieces in the show were made from old collections of the brand – Platte Berlin

“We have been making mistakes for years and we have decided that in 2023 we will end that momentum. We can’t keep piling up bad decisions: from Yeezy issues to anti-Semitism to the World Cup in Qatar,” he said. A senior executive supposedly from Adidas opened his speech at the Platte multidisciplinary space and creative incubator, leaving everyone in the room speechless. But that was just a taste of what was to come.

The rumored Adidas teams then announced the appointment of a co-CEO who would work hand-in-hand with newly appointed CEO Bjorn Gulden. The new leader of the company timidly emerged from the back of the room, dressed in a black suit and shaking hands with reporters to introduce herself as Vay Ya Nak Phoan.

Her background had little or nothing to do with headquarters or senior management, as she was a Cambodian garment worker representing a workers’ union. In her presentation speech, this unexpected new leader recalled “the harsh working conditions that even limit the time for bathroom breaks.”

Adidas logo embossed on the skin – Platte Berlin

To understand the situation, of which the Berlin Fashion Week itself had not been fully informed in advance, a short press release and a website, with the Adidas logo reversed, explained the project “Own the Reality, Realitywear “, which included the signing of the “Pay your workers” contract by the two new leaders.

And without further ado, a punk show began in the purest guerrilla action marketing style. The goal ? Fighting for better conditions for garment workers in Asia. The architects ? The Clean Clothes campaign and the design collectives Threads and Tits and The Yes Men.

Could Adidas really be behind this?

The doubt lasted a few minutes, perhaps driven by a desire for change in the fashion industry. Actually, no detail was missing: the architects of this hoax were not limited to the event and the communication campaign in Berlin and created an entire image online, taking up the graphic codes of the brand and its institutional site. Only the content differed.

More specifically, the initiative was aimed at highlighting in the fashion world the demands of the Pay Your Workers group, which appeared in 2021, after the blockades of textile production sites in Asia and the demands made at that time to the main donors. certain banknotes to remunerate employees of these countries during this period.

The parade included satirical messages – Platte

And the show was not far behind. The show was opened by a model whose face and limbs were burned by the Adidas logo, as if she were a corpse. All dressed in old custom Adidas garments, they played the roles of various workers in subhuman conditions: from a child forced to beg, to a homeless man who lives in a tent made of sports jerseys, to women humiliated on their knees or incapable characters. to breathe, drowned in plastic.

Regular collaborators of the sports brand such as Balenciaga or the musicians Bad Bunny and Pharrell have also received their share of satirical criticism as a way of claiming their responsibility.

The program achieved its objective of questioning and questioning the business model and the responsibility of large companies. In fact, a few hours later, some of the public were still not sure what had happened downstairs in the Platte.

For its part, the German company Adidas has confirmed that it was not behind the protest action. Contacted by, she followed up on this event that involved the “temporary kidnapping” of her image and that of her new CEO.

“We reject these allegations. Adidas has been committed for more than 25 years to fair labor practices, fair wages and safe working conditions throughout its global supply chain. Our labor standards require our suppliers to gradually raise the standard of living for employees improving compensation systems, benefits, wellness programs and other services Workers employed by our contracted vendors are typically paid well above the minimum wage We employ a team of 50 specialists, who work daily to adopt more sustainable business practices across our supply chain. Through more than 1,200 factory audits last year, we reviewed and evaluated supplier conduct, worked with them to resolve issues and make improvements where necessary.”

Barely in office, the new CEO of the German firm, Bjorn Gulden, has to face two burning issues between this deviation and his defeat, last week, in the legal battle that opposed the firm on the other side of the Atlantic. American Thom Browne.

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