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Did Adidas’ Shift Away From TV Have Something To Do With Its Ad Performance?

Earlier this month Adidas announced that it would be shifting away from TV advertising in order to focus on digital media to reach younger consumers. CEO Kasper Rorsted told CNBC that “digital engagement is key for us; you don’t see any TV advertising anymore” — which, frankly, gave us pause. (National and local TV advertising still adds up to a $67 billion business.)

We wondered if perhaps Adidas’ move away from TV had something to do with the engagement levels of its TV ads. In short: nope.

That’s our conclusion after doing a deep dive using data from iSpot.tv. Since the start of 2017, Adidas has aired just four spots 254 times, which is not a lot (you frequently see big brands with spots that air thousands of times over just a few weeks). Adidas has taken a methodical, hyperfocused approach to television by airing high-quality, attention-getting cinematic ads during tentpole events including the Grammys, the Oscars and the NBA All Star Game.


This strategy seems to be paying off when you take a look at Adidas’ impressive TV ad view rate of 96.17%, compared to the industry average of 88.62% (view rate is the percentage of an ad that, on average, was viewed across all airings of that ad). And most of its ads are viewed from the third quartile to completion, meaning that 97.9% of the time, people are watching 75-100% of the ad. Completion rates this high are quite rare. Basically, people stayed glued to their screens when these Adidas ads came on.


And the commercials have been getting people talking. For instance, despite only airing twice, the brand’s spot ‘ORIGINAL is Never Finished’ featuring Snoop Dogg made Adweek’s “Top 10 Ads by Digital Share of Voice” chart in February.

As for the younger demographic Adidas is trying to reach, though, it doesn’t appear the brand’s tentpole-TV advertising approach has been engaging quite the right target audience, with 18-to-34 year olds making up less than a third of the audience for its TV ads in 2017 so far.


If Adidas is truly going to leave TV behind, at least it’s going out on a high note with beautifully produced commercials featuring celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Karlie Kloss.