Adidas and the Power of a Brand Story

There is a large soup of plastic waste floating in the Pacific Ocean called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Some estimates suggest it is twice as large as the state of Texas. Plastic waste in our oceans is a growing problem and getting more and more media attention. 

Adidas is doing something about it.

In 2016, Adidas partnered with a group called Parley for the Oceans to produce a line of shoes and athletic wear that is made from recycled ocean plastic. The high-performance shoes have very cool design and sell for as much as $210 a pair.

You are happy to pay $200 for these shoes because they come with a story — they are made from recycled ocean plastic. The Adidas Parley line is a great example of a brand staying relevant by telling a story that consumers identify with and want to share with others. Last year, Adidas sold over a million pairs of these Parley shoes.

Let consumers tell your story for you

There used to be a time when the model for building a brand was to spend a lot on advertising to build awareness. In today’s fragmented media market, marketers need to build the story into the brand itself. The story has to be so compelling that consumers share it for you. In a very competitive market, a compelling brand story is often the feather that tips the scales toward brand choice and market success.



Fritz Grutzner is president and founder of Brandgarten, a research and strategy firm that helps brands tell meaningful stories. He can be reached at