If you haven’t seen this Adidas commercial, be prepared to get hit right in the heartstrings. It’s a touching story of an old man reclaiming his glory days, with the help of some friends and a trusty pair of Adidas. What some may think is a great piece of marketing, is actually a student produced piece, that is not officially associated with Adidas. Though it was sent to Adidas for use, the student was told the firm gets too many requests, and already boasts a large repertoire of creative agencies. Maybe you’re thinking that it’s foolish for Adidas not to use a piece of marketing that is garnering so much attention on the web. However, from a marketing standpoint, there are multiple reasons why Adidas would want to leave some distance between themselves and campaigns such as this (regardless of how much we like them). Brands work hard (and pay a lot) to have a very concise brand identity and voice, which are portrayed through their campaigns to specific audiences or target markets. While I imagine this ad played to the emotions of many all over the world, Adidas has aligned themselves with a much younger, athletic audience. This ad detours from that target group, and while the message is very powerful, it is not in sync with the identity that Adidas has cultivated. Another item that one must consider, is that while Adidas has made it known that they are not associated with the ad, they are still benefiting from the buzz. When people are searching for the ad, they are more than likely going to come across real promotional material and the Adidas website. Although Adidas may not be able to trace actual sales back to the presence of the ad, there is likely traffic to their site that is related to it (I know I went there). In some cases, fan-made ads can be damaging to the brand, and in others, brands can win from just letting these types of ads have their day in the sun. In this case, I believe Adidas is not being damaged by the attention they are seeing as an outcome from the ad and all of the incidental press that they are receiving. Have you watched the ad? (DO IT!) Tell us what you think in the comments below!