Slogan Doctor: Adidas - 'Impossible Is Nothing'

Many slogans work by subverting a well-known phrase, and sportswear giant Adidas' 'Impossible is nothing' is one of those.

by John Morrish
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

It takes a motivational cliche, 'nothing is impossible', and reverses its word order to create a new phrase that is grammatical but baffling. Resisting quick interpretation, it seems to say that achieving the impossible is no big deal; equipped with your new triple-striped shoes and clothes, you can do better than that. It was devised by the ad agency 180/TBWA in Amsterdam and is used, in English, around the world. The agency says the line is supposed to be universal in application, relating not just to the sporting elite: 'The concept demonstrates Adidas' belief that every athlete can reach their own "impossible". It dares athletes to be dissatisfied with the status quo.' The line was first used in commercials in 2004. 'Impossible isn't a fact, it's an opinion,' says Muhammad Ali's daughter Laila, over footage manipulated to show her in the boxing ring, fighting her father. Sometimes impossible really is impossible.

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