Aspects of Adidas Commercial

Semiotics studying signs unites linguistics and social sciences, which allows considering traditions, behavior patterns, and other social phenomena as sign systems. Thanks to semiotics, one can track the ways of subconscious interpretation of different messages – a process that relies on emotions. Daily routines and rituals are also full of various signs. For example, Norton (2012) discusses the semiotics of shopping – in molls and at home. The article was initially written in 1993, and the author discussed such ways as using catalogs and television sales (Norton, 2012). Then, merchants had to tell a specific story behind their products and unite buyers into categories. Given the pace of advertising and brand development, today’s consumer requirements are much higher. This fact and Norton’s text inspire further study of semiotics in marketing. Although the use of semiotics in marketing may be inconspicuous to audiences, its application requires considerable preparation and planning and can bring many benefits.

Today, due to the excess of goods, it is difficult to surprise the consumer, and therefore it is increasingly difficult for manufacturers to solve the issue of positioning their brands. This problem is solved mainly through marketing and advertising methods, and as a result, thousands of messages are fighting for people’s attention. Despite their fame, even large companies should change and adjust to modern trends, particularly support a positive brand’s image and have something more than attractive products. This paper analyzes the commercial of the famous company Adidas and its signs, which reflect some key modern trends and demands in brand development.

The advertisement may include signs representing the result of the interaction of language and images. The task of the image is to consolidate the buyer’s consciousness, and the language clarifies the created image. For example, pasta decorated in red, white, and green tones with a bright name can consolidate the image of Italian dishes that can be prepared with the brand’s products. Brands can also tie images to emotions and feelings through which people identify themselves. For example, a video that demonstrates a fearless and attractive woman using brand perfume attracts those who want to be confident and beautiful in the same way. Thus, to attract attention, the brand must develop a person’s individuality and give pleasure to self-consciousness.

The studied promotional video from Adidas focuses on protecting the environment and reducing plastic waste. The video was released in March 2021 and features a new model of Stan Smith sneakers – Stan Smith, Forever (Adidas Originals, 2021). The video’s plot is based on the fact that each person can contribute to the cleansing of the planet, and joint efforts can bring the most significant result. The feature of advertising is collaborations with cult characters of such companies as Disney, Star Wars ™, and others (Adidas Originals, 2021). In particular, Yoda appears here, and the character Kermit the Frog voices the video, which makes the phrase “It is not easy being green” more symbolic (Adidas Originals, 2021, 0: 50-0: 51). The product corresponds to advertising, as it is made of recycled material, fabrics Primegreen, created by Adidas itself. Thus, the company maintains a trend towards sustainability and meets the requirements of consumers that products should be environmentally friendly.

The presented commercial with such distinctive features has several goals. First of all, the company needs to present a new product and attract consumer attention to it. However, the video does not place sneakers in the center of the plot so that other goals can be seen as significant for Adidas. The second goal of advertising is to demonstrate the brand’s position on the environmental issue and its commitment to reducing plastic waste. The role of Adidas simultaneously expresses the opinion of the company, as well as forms the image and identity of the organization, which not only works for profit but also takes care of the planet’s future. The third goal of the video is to call to action the audience that will see it. At the same time, the company calls not for purchases but for social changes and shifts in people’s habits. The video wants to inspire the audience that they can also become part of the big case of saving nature.

Advertising effectively meets the goals that Adidas set for it. Since Stan Smith sneakers are a product that has gained popularity among consumers, their upgrade following environmental requirements will attract even more attention and increase sales. Moreover, the video copes well with the role of a statement of the company’s position since the images and the corresponding text fully demonstrate adherence to nature. As previously mentioned, the product itself also supports Adidas desired image since it is made of recycled material.

The audience’s inspiration to change their habits and contribute to the protection of nature may differ among buyers. Nevertheless, a substantial advantage of video to achieve this goal is the attraction of famous characters and personalities who use memorable phrases. For example, in addition to Kermit, the renowned tennis player Stan Smith claims that saving nature is a great thing, and the character Yoda says, “do or do not – there is no try” (Adidas Originals, 2021, 0: 24-0: 27). These features attract attention and inspire the audience to act and make changes.

Based on the features and goals of the commercial, the work of the semiotics can be distinguished. For instance, the use of green color prevails in the video, as it expresses support for ecology and sustainable goals. In particular, nature, elements on sneakers, details of clothing for some actors, a cup, indoor plants, and characters Yoda and Kermit are green (Adidas Originals, 2021). An essential technique of the video is causing a feeling of belonging to the crucial changes and a desire to become part of them. The presented text and images, for example, a revealing flower in the hands of a girl, cause the corresponding emotions that shifts are possible and the desire to act to contribute to them. At the same time, the semiotics in the video is not obsessive but emphasize the emotions of the audience. These features also tie the image of an environmentally responsible enterprise to the Adidas company.

Thus, the study of advertising videos demonstrates that the application of semiotics is helpful for commercial purposes. Moreover, the video emphasizes modern trends and requirements that brands must meet to be successful. The advertisement links the image of the company concerned about the preservation of nature to Adidas. The video has vivid examples of semiotics usage – the predominantly green color, flower symbols, emotion-inducing text, and other features. They are built on patterns of human behavior and aspirations, for example, the desire to be part of something more or the opportunity to change the world.


Adidas Originals. (2021). Adidas Originals | End plastic waste | Stan Smith, forever [Video]. YouTube.

Norton, A. (2012). Signs of shopping. In S. Maasik & J. Solomon, Signs of life in the U.S.A (7th ed., pp. 104-110). Bedford/St. Martin’s.