It's a tricky thing for brands. So many of them want to engage Gen Z, but any attempts that are too overt, pushy or inauthentic can so easily be sniffed out and backfire. So what to do?
For Adidas and Australian creative agency Andpeople, the challenge called for an experiment. To be more precise, an open space and forum for Gen Z creators, photographers, musicians, artists and designers to share ideas, discuss, invent and creatively express themselves on a wide open canvas of themes including: identity and community, sustainability, culture, creativity, empathy and equality.
Held in Melbourne, the Adidas Originals Forum Newsroom did just that, bringing in 30 young creators including photographers Jae Besorio, Willhelm Philipp and Sarah Lay, artists 3K and Ashwarya, designers Christopher Hrysanidis and Fern Arisara, and content creators @jontyknight, @jaidathecreator and @jassyyfizzle among many others.
The aim, the agency says, was to "disrupt traditional creative processes" by allowing creators to "conceptualise and execute an entirely open brief" based on the above-mentioned editorial themes.
“While many brands are looking for ways to engage with younger audiences, few have offered an alternative way to collaborate and create side by side, with Gen Z," says creative director Alexander Wu-Kim. "A lot of brands are guilty of targeting this cohort, not truly enabling them."
Assisting the creators was a team of mentors, helping to provide resources, tools, and budget management. A documentary of the process and some of its creations is shown above, along with several images from the Forum Newsroom (below).
“The campaign was all about celebrating an open mindset, and to do so by creating a safe space where people feel secure enough to act and behave in a genuinely open way—one that’s accepting, has no bias or judgement, so that new ground can be broken," says Wu-Kim. “For us, it was just about starting the sentence and letting our creator’s finish it."
The creative forum was accompanied by a new Adidas Originals Forum campaign featuring Australian recording artists Mia Rodriguez and Genesis Owusu.
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