For you basketball fans out there, Derrick Rose – one of the greatest young superstars of the NBA – suffered a devastating season-ending injury when he ripped his knee to shreds in the first game of last season’s Playoffs. For a sponsor (adidas, in this case), the injury is also debilitating, derailing marketing and promotional plans for months. Unless, of course, you build a classic story.
adidas decided to focus on Rose’s long road back to greatness. It’s the “seemingly insurmountable challenge facing a broken hero” angle that we’ve seen many times over in storytelling. It humanizes a brand (both brands, actually – Rose and adidas) and pulls on our heart strings.
Looking at actual tactics, adidas used the video above to launch the campaign, then followed it up with a three-part series (seen below) of Rose’s rehab, complete with triumphs and tribulations. Add in a custom site and a social media hashtag and you have a great example of turning lemons into lemonade.
Even retail partners got in on the action: