We’ve all witnessed the massive lines outside the Adidas stores across the UAE to buy the limited-edition Ravi restaurant collection. Have you ever wondered what was the thought and approach that went on behind the execution of the collaboration? Keep reading to find out.
Earlier this year, Adidas announced the most unexpected launch with the local Pakistani restaurant branch based in UAE, Ravi Restaurant. The announcement took the combined fanbase of the restaurant and Adidas by storm. The campaign was conceptualized and executed by both Adidas and Havas Middle East’s team based in MENA.
In an exclusive interview to Communicate, Bilal Fares, General Manager at Adidas MENA, and Razan Karim, Senior Communications Director at Red Havas Middle East, decode the entire community-focused approach for us.
In image above: Bilal Fares, General Manager at Adidas MENA
Why did Adidas choose a community-focused approach? Is there a particular reason behind it?
Bilal Fares: A community-based approach is at the heart of everything we do as a brand and with Dubai being a key city for us globally, our efforts are focused on supporting and cultivating the diverse community that makes up the fabric of the city. All the restaurants that were part of this collaboration are considered community hubs in their respective cities.
Under what criteria is Adidas shortlisting local diners and restaurants like Ravi for this marketing approach?
Bilal Fares: It’s no secret that local restaurants have come to represent the heart and soul of the world’s most iconic cities. For years, cherished culinary spots have cultivated tight-knit communities through food, hospitality, and unique ways of telling stories. Our intention was to celebrate the thriving food cultures of some of the world’s largest metropolises, working directly with owners of pioneering restaurants, for the global “Adilicious Sneaker” series. Founded in Dubai in the 70s as a family-owned business, Ravi became, over the past decades, synonymous with family, community, and culture. A casual culinary destination that brings together locals, ex-pats, tourists, and even celebrities, where everyone is welcome and treated equally. It made perfect sense for this collaboration.
How did the restaurant owners take the opportunity? What was their first reaction like?
Bilal Fares: They were just as excited as we were to create such an authentic piece to celebrate the city of Dubai and their family business which has become a local institution. The Abdul Hameed family as well as the brand view this collaboration as a representation of the ability of food to transcend physical borders and create cultural bonds, which is also representative of Dubai itself.
In image above: Razan Karim, Communications Director at Red Havas Middle East
What does this customized sneaker collection signify? How do you think it targets the consumer emotion?
Razan Karim: The idea to merge streetwear and food was born out of the belief that food has the ability to transcend physical borders and create cultural bonds, metaphorically offering a new experience or a taste of home for many of the diasporic communities found in Adidas's key cities. As an iconic establishment, Ravi Restaurant truly embodies the diversity of Dubai and serves as a space that transcends the array of nationalities, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds that make up our city. This is the reason we believe the campaign resonated so strongly with consumers.
What was it like executing the project?
Razan Karim: Throughout the entire execution of the project, our aim was to maintain the sense of community and collaboration that lies at the heart of the campaign. We handpicked creative collaborators that are embedded into the fabric of Dubai’s community – from the emerging photographer who shot the campaign images, to the contributors to the book we produced. Working side by side with the Dubai community to bring this project to life was truly a pleasure and a culturally enriching experience.
Did the communications around this collection differ from communications on regular Adidas collections? If so, how? And what do you think makes this collection different from any other?
Razan Karim: What made this collection different was that it sat at the intersection of food, fashion, and community. adidas is a community-driven brand at heart, and while the storytelling may differ, this is often the golden thread that runs through all our communications campaigns.