What happens when one of the world’s leading active wear companies, an environmental protection organization, and the Australian Open join forces? You get “the world’s first tennis range made from Parley ocean plastic” (LinkedIn).
Credit: adidas Pacific
Launched at the Icebergs Ocean Pool in Bondi, Sydney for their 2019 Australian open debut, Adidas x Parley is a “collection of apparel and footwear are made with Parley Ocean Plastic – materials are created from upcycled plastic waste intercepted from beaches and in coastal communities” (Inside Waste). According to Adidas’ Global Head of Brand Communications and Sports Marketing Eva Barrett, each pair of sneakers “are made from 11 plastic bottles taken from the shore in remote communities, stopping them from entering the ocean and turning the threat into thread” (LinkedIn).
The launch event for the collection at Icebergs Ocean Pool is a great example of targeted brand activation that connects the performance, style, and purpose of the products. The brand debut featured a functioning tennis court made out of a drained pool bordering the ocean. In a video shared by Barrett, you can see professional tennis players wearing the Adidas x Parley collection as ocean water makes its way onto the court.
A beachfront tennis match in a converted pool is exactly the kind of next level creativity and unique experience that can elevate brand awareness.
Image by Brook Mitchell from https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/garbage-will-be-the-chicest-thing-at-this-year-s-australian-open-20190108-p50q6w.html
Adidas joined as Parley’s first apparel partner in 2015 to rebrand recycled fashion with a focus on performance and style. The intention for the collection is “to make it an appealing and desirable mindset that it’s cool to be an environmentalist,” says Parley founder Cyrill Gutsch (The Sydney Morning Herald). He says of working with Adidas and the Australian Open, “Together, we are not only turning the 2019 Australian Open into a campaign for the oceans, we are inviting a new layer of society to become activists – the global tennis community – with all its style, performance and meaning” (Inside Waste).
Does this tennis collection meet expectations? Professional tennis plays from around the globe seem to agree.
At the 2019 Australian Open, tennis superstars including Alexander ‘Sascha’ Zverev, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Jelena Ostapenko, Lucas Pouille, Dominic Thiem, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are some of the players wearing Adidas x Parley. Zverev said, “I’m excited by this collaboration between Adidas and Parley for the Oceans – this collection looks great and has all of the technical features to support my performance on court but is also part of a movement to create change and protect the oceans” (Inside Waste).
What’s next for Adidas and Parley?
Their partnership is expanding from tennis collections for the Australian Open to special edition ADIZERO Authentic Pro x Parley hockey jerseys for the National Hockey League (NHL) in the US. These “jerseys will be worn by the NHL’s best players exclusively for the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills…and for the 2019 Honda NHL All-Star Game” (Inside Waste). Adidas spokesperson Shannon Morgan said that since their partnership began in “2015, Adidas and Parley have collaborated to raise awareness, help end marine plastic pollution and drive creative ideas that can change the future of sport, the industry and better protect our planet” (Inside Waste).
Strategic partnerships like Adidas, Parley, and the Australian Open show how companies, brands, and events can pioneer sustainable activations and help change the world.