Arizona State and Adidas. First Impression?


That’s what marketing is… impression, image and identity.


In a press conference this morning, Arizona State and Adidas announced a 7-year, $33.8 million apparel agreement to begin next July. Annually, that works out to double ASU’s arrangement with sportswear behemoth, Nike.

It’s a huge development, an additional $17M over 7 years to be exact, in the big business of Sun Devil Football & Athletics. The positive impact that this will have on several projects that are underway at ASU, notably an impressive overhaul of Sun Devil Stadium, far exceeds the value of any change in apparel sponsorship.

Now, all of that green aside, the intrinsic value of apparel is marketing & brand image. In this case, it’s about Adidas advancing the Sun Devil brand. Because if they do, Adidas will garner new fans themselves.

The good news is that style & creativity know no limits. Adidas has a million and one directions they can go to accomplish the goal. An empty canvas if you will.





It suggests that this partnership is almost entirely about money, not about marketing and image.

But in the wake of today’s news, the very first impression made by creative players at ASU and Adidas suggest that this partnership is almost entirely about money, not about marketing and image. And that’s a shame.


The fact remains that as a result of the new partnership, Arizona State may very well have the most impressive and appealing uniforms & apparel in all of college sports. It’s entirely possible.

But the imagery which creative directors from ASU and Adidas decided upon to make an invaluable first impression on fans, falls remarkably flat. And it’s that attention to detail or lack thereof that should be a concern.

Again, this is simply the first impression. But that’s exactly what marketing is… impression, image and identity. That’s all we have.

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Impress (verb)


  1. to affect deeply or strongly in mind or feelings
  2. to influence in opinion
  3. to impose a particular characteristic or quality upon (something)


Impression (noun)


  1. a strong effect produced on the intellect, feelings, conscience, etc.
  2. the first and immediate effect of an experience or perception upon the mind
  3. the effect produced by an agency or influence
  4. an image in the mind caused by something external to it


Today was a moment to temper the expected less-than-enthusiastic (to be kind) response by fans who are overwhelmingly enamored with Nike, like most of the country if not the world.

Even more, today was an opportunity for ASU and Adidas to get fans excited about what’s possible and what might be coming.

Even if there’s a move to go in a more traditional direction, sell us on it. Show us. Tease us. Make us curious. Give us a reason to get excited, or at least make it easier for us to keep an open mind.


DieHard Fans care about the details.


Ok, ok, first impressions can be deceiving. It’s just puzzling why only hours into this announcement, we hope we have been deceived. It didn’t have to be this way.

We will look forward, with cautious optimism, to the second impression.



What is written here? What is the message?? Is it important???

Mike Howell
Mike Howell