Adidas is the world's #2 sportswear company, behind Nike. Once the leading global manufacturer of sports shoes and equipment, Adidas was overtaken by Nike in the 1980s and has lagged behind its bigger rival ever since, especially in the all-important US market. Even Adidas's traditionally strong position in international soccer has come under intense pressure from its American competitor, despite the German group's firm grip on equipment, not least professional match footballs themselves, most of which are supplied by Adidas across Europe and also in the US, along with team apparel, footwear and training apparel.
Adidas maintains a large stable of player and team endorsement partners. It is the exclusive supplier of footwear and apparel to the German Football Association and to US Major League Soccer; to several national teams including Germany, Spain, Mexico and Argentina; and to key clubs including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Juventus. It is a lead sponsor of the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro championships, and at a personal level it has contracts with top players including Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale and Mesut Osil, among many others.
It also has a strong presence in other sports and tournaments including NBA basketball, tennis, athletics and rugby, as well as the Olympic Games. A separate division, Adidas Originals, markets sports-inspired leisure apparel and has its own roster of endorsement partners in the music and entertainment industries including Beyonce, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams and Rita Ora. There are also fashion apparel partnerships with designers including Yohji Yamamoto, Stella McCartney and Victoria Beckham. The brand is even licensed to Coty for a range of fragrances and toiletries. However, a sizeable golf apparel and equipment business was sold in 2016.
The US has long been a challenging market for the main Adidas brand. To tackle this, in 2005 the group acquired US-based rival Reebok, then #2 in the US and #3 globally. However the company struggled for several years to combat a steady decline in Reebok's sales, and the main brand too suffered something of a plateau, despite what should have been a big boost from the 2014 World Cup. That eventually prompted the resignation of long-serving CEO Herbert Hainer. New chief Kasper Rorsted has presided over a sharp rebound in performance since his arrival in 2016. Revenues hit a record €21.9bn in 2018, with net income of €1.7bn. Perhaps surprisingly, the group's biggest single region by revenues is now Asia Pacific (33% of the group total in 2018), followed by Europe (27%) and then North America (21%). The Adidas brand alone contributed €19.9bn, compared to €1.7bn from Reebok.
Capsule checked 30th August 2019
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Historical profile information for Adidas
Adbrands Daily Update 11nd Oct 2019: Michael Liedtke, long-serving global marketing chief for Adidas, is leaving the company at the end of 2019 after 25 years. His destination is unknown; however he will be succeeded by Brian Grevy, currently CEO of clothing brand Gant. Before that, though, Gant spent almost 20 years in various roles at Adidas. Group chairman Igor Landau said "We are delighted to welcome Brian Grevy back to Adidas following his successful time as CEO and Chief Marketing Officer at Gant, bringing in depth Adidas brand knowledge, extensive international experience and strong leadership skills."
Adbrands Social Media 31st Jul 2019: "The Deal". Iris has steadily edged out TBWA and 72andSunny to become Adidas's main global partner in football, and clearly has its eyes set on an even larger prize. This latest stitches together contributions from all 21 of the brand's most famous player partners - we don't envy the poor soul in charge of coordinating the diaries of the world's top footballers - to form a trippy warning of what it takes to become one of them. Selling your soul to the football devil may well be part of the deal.
Adbrands Daily Update 13th May 2019: Adidas is understood to have set a new record for football sponsorship, renewing its partnership with Real Madrid - already well-established as the world's richest football club - at a price rumoured to be €1bn over eight years. No price was officially disclosed, with Real confirming only a deal that is "unprecedented in the history of the sports industry". Adidas has been Real Madrid's apparel sponsor since 1998. The renewal will extend that partnership until 2028.
Adbrands Daily Update 4th Apr 2019: Beyonce signed a partnership deal with Adidas, which will involve the launch of a new footwear and apparel range as well as the relaunch of her athleisure brand Ivy Park. She bought back control of that business last year from former joint venture partner Arcadia Group following the controversy surrounding owner Philip Green. Under the new arrangement with Adidas she will retain full ownership of Ivy Park.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jun 2018: Ads Of The Week "Create the Answer". Blink and you'll miss one famous face or another in this thrilling new spot from 72andSunny for Adidas, kicking off the sportswear brand's World Cup campaign. No fewer than 56 star athletes (practising or retired), musicians. models and other notables make a cameo appearance in the course of just 90 seconds. The whole thing is framed as the sort of party you wish you'd been invited to, shot so casually that it looks as if no work whatsoever was involved in making it happen. We're betting, though, it took days on-set and then days more in post-production. Worth it though. It's our choice for Best World Cup 2018 ad to-date.
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