Tim Tadder and ASICS: creators, disruptors, and, taking the world by storm

If you ask Tim Tadder what he does for a living, the first thing he’d tell you, after saying a photographer, is he is a visual communicator too. He is a producer, director, writer, and photographer; sometimes, all at once. What makes Tim unique is he not only learns about the stories that brands want to tell but, why they want to tell it.

Longtime collaborator and client Eric Wright of The Martin Group understands this about Tim. Eric asked Tim to work on the campaign for the Gel Diablo lifestyle sneaker collection from ASICS Tiger. “Welcome to the Dojo,” is the sneaker collection inspired by the legendary houses of self-improvement in Japan.

From the ASICS website:
“The dojo. In Japan, it’s a place for learning and enlightenment. The training ground for becoming the best version of yourself. This is a collection made for a rising generation of leaders who never rest on good enough—the creators, the disruptors, the artists taking the world by storm.”


Several stories needed telling, and Tim was the right man for the job given his forte in making images, not just taking them.

We spoke to Eric about the campaign and working with Tim:

“The campaign centers around ASICS being able to build traction in the lifestyle sneaker space. Our goal was to highlight ASICS’s Japanese heritage and a product line that drew inspiration from Bruce Lee and Kill Bill films. We wanted to be able to show ASICS’s Japanese heritage and lifestyle connections.”



Why did you choose to use micro-influencers for this campaign?

“It was a natural next step to profile those that live in the present-day dojo. In Houston, we called the micro-influencer effort ‘Legends Rise,’ after the Japanese rising sun dojo. In Miami, we called it ‘The Dojo’ inspired by the Japanese snake dojo. These influencers are the people for whom the sneakers were made. These are the people that consumers look up to. These are the leaders who never rest.



Why was Tim the right choice?
“We’ve worked together a lot in the past, and I trust him. Tim has a great way of telling a story with his work, and he connects with the people he is shooting. His approach was essential when it came to working with micro-influencers. Tim is a great person to have on the roster and leverage his talents. Plus, I know Tim is collaborative. I can share my and my team’s ideas and know that he can run with it.”

Was there anything about the shoot or the team that was noteworthy?
“First, we were working in excessively demanding conditions during the shoot. In Houston, it was 110 degrees, and we’re shooting outdoors. Tim was great about getting it done, despite the environment. Second, the team that Tim pulled in, from the producer to the video director, were top notch. Not to mention the incredible footage and imagery gathered during this time.”

Check out this compelling video of Tim Tadder’s collective storytelling.

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 3.38.40 PM

It was Tim’s job to tell the story of each influencer and to highlight their lifestyle connection; their dojo. Here is what Tim had to say about the project:


You had the challenge of telling the story of people who are living their dojo. Each story was different. How did that play into your approach to the campaign? How did you tell their story, but also keep this a cohesive campaign?
“No two subjects ever have the same story; you have to take time to get to know and understand who they are. For Miami, the story was about the Dojo, the place that gives a person a sense of place, personal strength, and centers them. I think we all have a Dojo. My job was to connect with the subjects and find out what the dojo was for them. The toughest part is to introduce someone to an audience and share who they are and what they stand for, what their Dojo is. It meant boiling down a 60-minute interview into 60 seconds. That’s an arduous task.””Have you shot a campaign that uses micro-influencers in the past? If this was your first time, how did you change your approach vs. using talent for an ad?
“Most of my subjects are actual influencers since the majority of the people I shoot are professional athletes. I approach every subject the same way, regardless of if they are the best basketball player in the world or the most average human on the planet. We all have stories and it’s my job to share them. At the core we are all the same, so there is a commonality between us all.”



In Houston, Tim and team worked to profile Allen Onyia, A style coach, and menswear influencer, who is also the co-founder of UpscaleHype, A celebrity fashion, and high-end lifestyle news site.

There the team also worked with You Tuber, and self-proclaimed “Thrift God”, Paul Cantu. Paul leverages all things throwback. This was fitting since the Gel design is something ASICS first launched in 1995.



Miami brought a different slant to the campaign, centered as much on the person as the actual Dojo where they exist. Here, they captured the lifestyle of hip-hop/rap artist Bam Savage.



But the micro-influencers weren’t the only ones that were emblematic of the modern-day dojo. Jay Battin and Hamad were talents at each of the Houston and Miami locations. It was clear from their engagement and enthusiasm, they too are rising stars, making their mark in the world daily.




Our final question to Tim was about client relationships.

Do you approach a project differently if it’s someone you have worked with for a while?
“I think working with repeat clients is always my goal. In this case, Eric was at a new agency, and this was his first project with ASICS. I was honored that he went to bat for me, and reco’d me for the project. I felt a sense of obligation to make sure our team knocked it out of the park. When someone puts their job on the line for me, I want to over-deliver as much as possible.

I am confident that my team is one of the very very best in this industry. I am tremendously proud of how much every one of our crew comes together and performs at the highest level. We offer tremendous value and deliver an incredible product.”

The circle would not be complete if we didn’t point out that Tim Tadder is a micro-influencer in his own right. He is fearless when it comes to creating work that will start a conversation. Yes, he too is taking the world by storm.

Leave a Reply