The Adidas #whyirunldn Brand Man who thinks Adidas owns Wapping

Wapping is a popular place for brands to use. Bolt the word Wapping into some meaningless marketing phrase, turn up, do what you want, clear off, brand enhanced, profits ensured.

And brands really don’t like it when they cannot control what you do. Ask the Adidas man.

Unfortunately he forgot he was in the East End when he decided to obstruct LW. Oops. Have a look at what happened.



LW was wandering along Vaughan Way yesterday evening when he noticed what was obviously some sort of marketing stunt taking place in Vaughan Way just over the canal.

A hip and happening black taxi cab had various hip and happening silver dustbin shaped, er…, things bolted onto the back, the hashtag #whyirunldn prominent. Around 20–30 runners were gathered round catching their breath.

#whyirunlondon taxi

It all looked like harmless fun so as we happened to be on the lookout for something hip and happening to photograph we crossed the road to have a closer look.

As soon as we did The Adidas Brand Guy glided towards us and was soooooooooo polite. And soooooooooo helpful. He probably thought LW was a tramp with an iPhone the way we were dressed (quite smartly for a Monday we thought) but he hid any displeasure at having to deal with a person whose brand values were a little off message.

The Adidas #whyirunlondon Brand Man

Little did he know that the LW correspondent reporter person he was talking to had spent the last 25 years or so working on some of the biggest brands on the planet.

The Adidas Brand Guy explained that this was the end of an Adidas organised running event for the ‘Adidas Runners (‘More than just a run club’) where a run starts at London Bridge station, people can just turn up and then run to wherever the destination is, either 6k or 8k. Tonight’s destination was Wapping including a lap around the canal. Good choice.

Selling you lifestyle

This seems a reasonable deal, nothing hidden, Adidas organise a run which seems pretty popular and maybe the runners buy some shoes.

2_adidas_sport_performance-jpg__278x372_q85_crop-smart_upscaleFor those unfamiliar with the wonderful world of branding this is a standard way for any of the sports brands to work. They don’t sell trainers – they sell you lifestyle. They sell you values. They sell you young, fit, aspirational.

That’s what you buy into. The financial transaction just happens to be buying some running shoes for £150 or whatever.

So Adidas organising these runs to get people to buy stuff.

Nike does stuff, any big sporting brand does stuff. Just to make sure no-one runs off (see what we did there?) and does their own thing Adidas very kindly transport your bag for you to the end of the run.

The same vehicle that transports the bags has some samples of the latest Adidas trainer / running shoes for people to try if they wish but there is no pressure to buy according to the runners I talked to.

#whyirunlondon look after runner’s bags

And that seemed to be a problem for The Adidas Brand Guy.

Talking to people.

He seemed more than happy for LW to photograph the brand vehicle but nothing else. He did not not even want us to talk to anyone.

After about 30 seconds chat with a couple of nice people LW went and talked to three other really nice people and was having a laugh with them when The Adidas Brand Guy appeared.

In fact he more than appeared.

He got in the way, clearly and deliberately obstructing us from, well, talking to people.

It was only at this point that LW started filming The Adidas Brand Guy. We had filmed nothing else and taken no photographs of any individual apart from one gentleman at the edge of frame.

As you can see Adidas Brand Guy was deliberately obstructing LW from working – and in his own words as you can see from the film – ‘filled the frame’. Obstruction plain and simple.

We have published all the photos we took on this page as well as the video. We would have take some more pics but… well, read on.

Talking in public

LW was just talking to the nice runners. Talking to them in a public place. About an event that had just happened in public. And very nice people they were too (sorry our chat was cut short ladies!).

Seems that a member of the public talking to other members of the public in a public place does not conform with Adidas brand values. Just so you know.  Here are the six words that describe the Adidas brand values, in case you are interested.

  • Authentic
  • Passionate
  • Innovative
  • Inspirational
  • Committed
  • Honest

There was no B, not even a Plan B

LW only started filming on his (or her) knackered iPhone 5 when The Adidas Brand Guy started to physically block LW from (a) talking to people in a public place and (b)… well there was no B. Because The Adidas Brand Guy made sure there was no B.

He also ensured that what might have been quite a nice bit of social media engagement on Instagram (see below) for Adidas and the #whyirunldn campaign instantly turned into a public relations disaster. A small one but they all count, especially when ‘authentic’ is such a desirable core brand value.

#adidasrunnerslondon #whyirunldn #adidas #whyirun #wapping #canal

A photo posted by Love Wapping (@lovewapping) on

So The Adidas Brand Guy turned a pleasant encounter with some nice running folk into a nasty encounter with the Brand Police.

Who seem to think that they own where we live.

Well guess what Brand People? #youdonotownourcommunity

Encroaching into every aspect of our lives

A trivial incident in the scheme of things. So why this post? Because we all know that more and more global brands like Adidas are encroaching into every aspect of our lives to make a profit.

A few weeks back some large sporting event sponsored by cut Wapping and other river communities off for a whole weekend promptly followed by the large sporting event cutting us all off the very next weekend.

If big brands want to do their branding thing in their own private branding space to which people are invited then fine.

But don’t try and take over our public spaces, our streets or our community for your commercial activities.

It will only end in tears.

#whyirunlondon #adidasrunners
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