Connections key for adidas

11 March 2013

HERZOGENAURACH: New marketing campaigns will play a key role for adidas, the sports giant, as it tries to create "deeper" connections with shoppers this year, after event-led efforts led it to success in 2012.

In a quarterly earnings conference call, CEO Herbert Hainer said that during the Olympic Games, adidas had "delivered its most comprehensive offering of high-performance products ever", while Euro 2012 had "reconfirmed adidas as the number one football brand".

Football will continue to be a focus over the months ahead, as the brand prepares for the Confederation Cup this year and the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Both events will be held in Brazil.


adidas also plans to build new collections around sports stars such as footballer Lionel Messi and has just launched Team Messi, a major digital initiative.

"We have other major campaigns planned for adidas as well to drive deeper consumer connection," said Hainer. These include a women's campaign, called #mygirls, and a global Originals campaign, Unite All Originals.

Hainer noted that the brand's success had not been limited to the above event-related categories, as all other key categories had grown at double digit rates during the year.

He referred in particular to adizero footwear sales, up 40% thanks to high visibility on the world's major marathon podiums, the basketball business, where sales growth doubled to 22%, and outdoor, where sales rose 14%, driven by the Terrex range of footwear and apparel.

Another highlight for the brand was TaylorMade-adidas Golf, with sales up 48% to over €1.3bn in two years, a "remarkable" performance, said Hainer, "considering that the golf industry is still relatively stagnant".

But the adidas-owned Reebok brand performed less well as sales declined 18%. This was due to the discontinuation of some business, previous overstatment of sales in India and its ongoing repositioning as a fitness brand.

Hainer outlined a new marketing approach for Reebok during 2013.


"The House of Fitness allows Reebok to engage with consumers regardless of how they choose to stay fit," he said. The focus will be on five key areas including fitness training, fitness running, studio activities – including yoga, dance and aerobics – walking, and classics.

Geographically, China proved to be a major growth area for adidas, with sales up 15% to €1.5bn. Hainer noted that the brand represented a good fit with the growing target group of middle class consumers – and added that he was confident it would "continue to take more market share and grow faster than any of our major competitors".

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff