Adidas has officially smoothed things over with Agent Zero.
The athletic apparel manufacturer yesterday began rolling out a new global marketing campaign, with Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas receiving top billing in commercials, a Web-based documentary and other advertisements.
The campaign, dubbed "Nothing is Impossible," will focus heavily on Arenas' rise to NBA stardom after struggling for a lack of playing time at the University of Arizona and with the Golden State Warriors.
"What better person do you want leading your charge than someone who's lived your mission statement?" said Travis Gonzolez, Adidas' global public relations chief. "We've known Gilbert a long time. We realized in the last couple years that 'here's a guy who can take us to that next level.' He's someone who has a great personality, a desire to win and is the ultimate team player but can step up and score 50 or 60 points a night if you need him to."
It's a clear shift from this time last year, when Arenas complained that Adidas was not giving him enough attention. Arenas entered this season on a mission, earning his first appearance as a starter on the NBA All-Star team and gaining attention with self-imposed nicknames like "Agent Zero" and "The Hibachi."
The company responded this season with a new Arenas-branded shoe, and this latest campaign is the first attempt to make Arenas the focal point in advertisements for the overall brand.
"This is more than what I was asking for," Arenas said yesterday at Verizon Center after a flurry of broadcast interviews and a meeting with Adidas reps about a possible new shoe prototype. "I just wanted to be part of it, and now I've put myself in a position where I can be the 'face.' Now I have to represent in the right way."
In all, the Adidas campaign will feature 30 athletes, including Olympic sprinters Jeremy Wariner and Allyson Felix, Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham and a number of amateur athletes who will talk about overcoming obstacles to achieve their goals. There will be 21 commercials, 15 documentaries about various athletes, plus "behind-the-scenes" footage and content on social network sites, including MySpace.
As part of the campaign, athletes created artwork that will be incorporated into posters, books, documentaries and clothing designs. The artwork will be featured in a traveling exhibition later this year.
The campaign was produced by 180 Amsterdam, which also manages advertising for Dr Pepper, Amstel Light, Sony and MTV.