Contrary to popular belief, Parley is not just the name of a collection Adidas created which features plastic. No, the story and its impact go far beyond that.
Parley for the Oceans is a network where “creators, thinkers and leaders raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans. Adidas and Parley announced their partnership in 2017, with the major sport corporation committing to Parley’s A.I. R. (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign) program. Outlined during the United Nation’s Ocean Conference, a major component of the partnership is the integration of Parley Ocean Plastic™, a range of eco-friendly materials made from upcycled plastic waste, into key Adidas products.
1 million pairs of the original Adidas x Parley shoe were created, with the knitted uppers and stitching all made from recycled plastics collected by Parley from the Oceans.
The two entities have teamed up to create a large, widespread collection of apparel to raise awareness of ocean plastics. So what makes this partnership stand out? It’s the way Adidas has seamlessly integrated Parley into its brand without limiting the authority of the environmental organization. Below, I outline three reasons why Adidas x Parley sets the standard for sports marketing partnerships.
Leading up to the Australian Open, Adidas and Parley announced their tennis collection with
In an interview with Front Office Sports, Adidas Pacific’s Senior Manager of Brand Activation explained the team’s thought process on the idea and location of the activation:
We wanted to visually represent the beauty of the oceans, the threat they are currently facing, and the solution that Adidas and Parley are working towards. We felt the backdrop of the iconic Bondi Beach, with the symbolic empty pool (that they empty every Thursday), and then the unveiling of our footwear and apparel range made from 100% marine ocean plastic, was a perfect way to tell this story.
Setting the location in a region other than the United States not only expanded their reach outside of North America, but it also allowed Adidas x Parley to send a message to a targeted audience. By hosting the activation in Australia – a country characterized by their famous blue waters and beachside lifestyle – they hoped for an effect that hit close to home, magnifying the threat of
The time and location
From Parley’s perspective, a partnership with Adidas is packed with potential because of their global presence and
Parley made its way into the soccer world thanks to Adidas’ long-standing partnership with Major League Soccer. All 23 MLS teams sported special Parley kits during the 2018 Earth Day weekend.
Next up was the National Hockey League with Parley Ocean Plastic™ making its debut in hockey jerseys at the NHL All-Star Game. Significantly different from the all-star jerseys of year’s past, the Parley jerseys are not only far
The way Adidas x Parley is marketed emulates a true 50/50 partnership where both Adidas and Parley are benefitting equally. Unlike many sponsorship deals where one party is usually the decision-maker, I believe that Adidas, despite being a global conglomerate, does an excellent job of letting Parley take centre stage.
Ocean blue is the dominant
Adidas’ website contains a special page dedicated to not just their Parley products, but also environmental organization’s values and goals. Throughout their introductory video, there’s no direct mention of Adidas until the very end, but even then they focus on the partnership, not one just one party. Instead, the true purpose of the video is to draw attention to ocean plastics and how Adidas x Parley is helping counter the threat.