Mobile Marketing at Adidas analysis
Brand History and Positioning
As a starting point to this analysis, we feel that it is relevant to give an idea of the brands history, how they got to where they are at the time of the case study, how does the brand positions itself, what types of problems did they face and how did they solve them, and how they stand now, in this day and age.
After his return from World War I, Adolf Adi Dassler started manufacturing sports shoes in his mothers laundry room in Herzogenaurach, Germany. In 1924, his older brother Rudolf Dassler joined the business and the Gebr?der Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) was born. In 1928, Lina Radke won a gold medal in the Olympics in Amsterdam while wearing Adi Dasslers shoes, giving the brand some notoriety. But it was only in 1936 that the brand became known to the world of sports, when American sprinter Jesse Owens was convinced by Adi Dassler to wear their shoes, ending the Summer Olympics with four gold medals, providing a big boost to the companys sales prior to World War II and making the brothers realize that gold medals could be a key factor to the promotion of the brand.
In 1947, the brothers relationship had broken down and as a consequence they split up, Rudolf started his own company, Ruda, named after the first two letters of his first and last name and that later would become what we now know as Puma, while Adolf started a company named Adidas, Adi being his nickname and Das the first letters of his last name, on the same day he registered a shoe that already had the three stripes that would become Adidas trademark.
With the previous success in sponsoring athletes, Adidas became the official sponsor of the German football national team, which won the World Cup in 1954 after beating the unbeatable Hungarians, this made Adidas a household name in the world of football. Later they would begin manufacturing sports apparel as well, which started with the Franz Beckenbauer tracksuit by the time the legendary football was still a star in the making, again the company was focusing on athletes with a high potential for success, and that success would translate into sales for the Adidas brand. The 3-stripes brand would continue to expand to more sports throughout the years, always representing the top athletes of each sport such as gymnast Nadia Comaneci who scored a perfect 10 in the 1976 Summer Olympics, and Stan Smith who is among the best tennis players of all time and whose signature shoes are still a fashion trend since the creation of the Adidas Stan Smith in 1971.
After the death of Adolf Dassler in 1978, his son Horst took over and continued his fathers work, committed to modern sports marketing. In 1986, Adidas managed to merge sports with arts, forming an unexpected and unique partnership with the hip-hop trio Run-DMC after their hit song My Adidas, we will talk more about this situation later in the analysis.
According to the case study, in order to focus more on marketing the company increasingly outsourced production to third-party suppliers in the 90s, and in 1995 became a public company at a point when it was already the leading supplier of football footwear worldwide, in part obviously due to the Dassler familys efforts and strategies but also due to Robert Louis-Dreyfus who took over after the Dassler family exited the company at a stage in which the company almost went bankrupt. The case study also advances that in 1998 the company began focusing more on the U.S. market which was dominated by Nike and Reebok, but we will look into Adidas competitors further ahead, and started sponsoring basketball superstars such as Kobe Bryant who would not long after switch to Nike, but still, it helped the company enter an already very controlled market and until this day Adidas was able to maintain some star athletes under their representation such as James Harden and Derrick Rose.
In 2004, the company launched the Impossible is Nothing campaign which started showing star athletes such as David Beckham, Mohammad Ali and Haile Gebrselassie facing their fears, defeats and challenges only to prove that, indeed, impossible is nothing and in my opinion, this is still to this day one of the most well thought campaigns. At this stage, regional subsidiaries of the company had the responsibility of executing marketing campaigns with messages that would suit the national markets, but they should still follow the guidelines and principles developed by Adidas International.
All this led Adidas to what it is today, the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second worldwide, only behind Nike. But in the beginning of the century, Adidas saw an opportunity to surpass its competitors, and this opportunity came from taking advantage of the increasing trend that was, and still is, mobile media. This will be the main focus of our work from here on out.