Trigger Happy Series: adidas Tells The Cautionary Tale Of Ebenezer Snoop

28.11.2012 by David Waterhouse
Snoop Dogg, adidas, David Beckham

There’s practically a blizzard of Christmas themed ads at the moment. Every time you turn on the TV or open a web page you’re greeted with a festive ad reminding you to buy wrapping paper, sprouts and enough mulled wine to keep Granny happy ‘til boxing day. But what makes some festive ads cooler than a snowman’s frostbitten toes?

Marley might be as dead as a doornail but adidas, Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) and a whole host of celebrities are ready to live it up and celebrate the season in The Cautionary Tale Of Ebenezer Snoop.

The sportswear giant has long associated itself with the coolest sports and music professionals in its Global advertising strategy, creating ads that feature David Beckham alongside Daft Punk or Ian Brown. By tapping into global cultural phenomena, adidas has also created entire lines of products, and the corresponding ads, inspired by music genres, sports and popular films.

Although the brand has capitalised on celebrity endorsements, it has never relied solely on them for their content. While famous faces in an ad can help to amplify already strong content, they rarely make the content share-worthy by their mere presence.

While adidas have packed in the celebs in their previous campaigns and memorably, the Star Wars Cantina, the brand has always found ways of putting its stars in fun, stimulating content. The Cantina clip didn’t earn over 560,000 shares by showing Snoop Dogg (as he was then) playing at being a Jedi or Beckham talking to Han Solo.

The Cantina ad earned its popularity by very smartly and seamlessly working modern characters in the classic film, creating an entirely new piece of content that leverages the emotional triggers ‘humour’   and ‘nostalgia’ to create an emotional engagement with its target audience.

While the adidas Christmas add is packed with stars, it uses them to drive the clip rather than be the sole focus of it. Snoop Lion appears next to a perfect Christmas tree, sat by a roaring, if televised, fire. Immediately the clip begins to play on long-established seasonal iconography, turning Snoop into a surreal, slang-spouting Bing Crosby-like figure that introduces his grouchy, cartoon alter ego.

Ebenezer Snoop might be looking for a silent night but the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future have other ideas. After  slobbing around the house grumbling about the holiday season, Ebenezer is dragged into his hip, happening past by one of adidas’ first brand ambassadors Stan Smith. David Beckham shows Ebenezer what he’s missing in the present day and Rita Ora appears with NBA star Derrick Rose to show him a grim future.

Snoop Lion and adidas have long been associated, but what emotional tiggers are driving this ad to become one of the week’s most rizzle-dizzlin’ clips.



The comedy comes from a variety of sources, chief among them Snoop’s own character traits. Poking fun at the star’s unique lexicon, Ebeneezer Snoop mumbles “Bah Humbizzle” and makes reference to “eggnog and juice”. Not that you need to be a Snoop fan to enjoy the manipulation of the original storyline or the visual gags snuck into the clip as it jumps through the space-time continuum.



While never relying on the fame of any individual to drive a gag, the content does reveal each ghost in a way that generates surprise and further humour at each character’s cartoon appearance. The same effect is used in the larger crowd scenes, with eagled eyed viewers reporting appearances from Tennis player Andy Murray and DJ Steve Aoki.



It’s not just the mysterious smoke from Snoop’s pipe that puts a smile on viewers’ faces, the ad genuinely exudes holiday spirit. A Christmas Carol, the tale of a man embracing the season of good will and joy to all men, has been given a thorough dusting off. By using Snoop’s well-established character, the clip conveys all the joyous elements of Dickens’ classic in a fun, accessible and modern form.



The ad is the figurehead of a much broader campaign, with follow-up content on the adidas YouTube channel, Snoop Lion tweeting out seasonal messages and a Facebook page loaded with extra content. With a strong focus on character rather than celebrity, the clip uses its stars to tell the tale without ever using them just for who they are.

The cross-platform campaign has helped drive conversation around the Christmas clip which has earned over 85,000 views in just three days and articles on websites and blogs. By refusing to fall into the usual, clichéd emotions of festive advertising, the clip has derived humour from ridiculing them with its own, hilarious content.

You can check out The Cautionary Tale Of Ebenezer Snoop, and all its stats on the Unruly Viral Video Chart or visit the website to see how brands are using emotional intensity testing to learn more about their campaign.

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