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Take That

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BRAND: Adidas; AGENCY: 180; CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Larry Frey; DIRECTOR: Mike Mills

Monica doesn't feel guilty, Bill doesn't feel guilty, so why the hell should you feel guilty? Adidas, the resurgent athletic brand, knows that we're in the Post-Guilt Era. Suddenly, we don't need no stinking commercials -- from athletic-apparel manufacturers, anyway -- that remind us that we have yet to reach our full potential, that we're not just doing it, that in fact we've been sinking into the couch watching TV commercials for athletic apparel.

So how about a commercial that celebrates sports because they're fun, that reminds us how good it can feel to just pull on a pair of sneakers and goof off? Adidas delivers that message in its joyful new series of commercials directed by Mike Mills (the wunderkind designer and video director, not the R.E.M. bassist) and currently running on MTV and the major networks. Mills serves up short cuts of what are mostly slo-mo shots of average-looking people actually having fun (a bunch of kids shooting one another with squirt guns; a lone boy playing soccer with an orange in an utterly average-looking kitchen; a wildly grinning kid shooting hoops with his dad) overlaid with animated typographic slogans (TAKE FIRST PLACE; TAKE LAST PLACE; TAKE YOUR TIME). Throw in some infectious, exuberant music (the campaign includes tracks from the Appleseeds and Moby) and a killer tag line (TAKE WHAT YOU WANT), and you've got the year's best new TV campaign.


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