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The Squeeze, Vol. 11: Just Keep Swimming

The Squeeze, Vol. 9: Over the Rainbow.

SPM Group, can we go beyond the surface?

What’s going on?
This interactive billboard from Adidas is making waves at Cannes Lions for being the world’s first swimmable billboard, diving headfirst into swimming inclusivity.

Yesterday marked the official start of Summer and with record heat across the country, swimming season is in full swing. But many women may not be partaking, as 32% say they don’t feel comfortable swimming in public. With that in mind, Adidas set out to inspire women of all shapes and backgrounds to feel confident in the water through the promotion of its inclusive swimwear collection. They activated a ‘liquid billboard’ – what looked like a regular billboard but was actually a large transparent pool – on one of Dubai’s most popular public beaches. People could dive in with their swims visible to fellow beachgoers and online streamers, and received a personalized poster printed on the beach afterward.

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(ICYDK: The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the largest gathering of the marketing communications industry. This week is the first festival back after a two-year hiatus.)

What's The Squeeze?
This campaign reminds us that representation matters and that physical appearance counts for nothing when you’re in the water, among many other things.

Adidas’ “Beyond the Surface” messaging breaks traditional swimwear advertising convention, which typically puts scantily clad, utopian models front-and-center. While healthcare marketing rarely features supermodels, we too can be guilty of casting for the idealistic “healthy” person as opposed to featuring someone more representative of healthcare’s most common users. Though that strategy may be considered aspirational, it also ignores the fact that people need to see people who look like them in order to truly identify with them.

Adidas’ is one of many recent creative campaigns leveraging outdoor advertising, which is well on its way on the road to pandemic recovery. Check out a few examples here:

  1. Audible’s cassette player billboard, which plays true crime stories
  2. This massive, 3D installation at Times Square promoting the Obi-Wan Kenobi release on Disney+
  3. These London-based billboards from Kind Snacks and Little Moons Ice Cream which provide passersby with snacks and sweet treats

Related Insights.

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