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Adidas backs digital to win in US

News, 22 September 2016

LONDON: Adidas is prioritising digital to help it win back a leading position in the US sportswear market from rival Under Armour, a top executive has said.

Nike is the clear leader there, and Adidas ceded its second position to Under Armour during 2014, when, according to a Sterne Agee report, it saw a 30% drop in shoe sales and a 20% drop in apparel sales.

But David Greenfield, global head of digital ecosystem design at Adidas, believes a focus on digital marketing can help reverse that situation.

"We absolutely can win back dominance from Under Armour in the US," he told Marketing Week, adding: "digital will play a big role in us achieving that".

In support of this assertion he pointed to the company's recent marketing activity for the NMD brand, which took place entirely on social media. "It wasn't a 30-second TV spot or some slogan but a digital-only strategy that made us sell out of those shoes in a matter of hours," he said.

And, in a remark that emphasised where traditional media now stands in the pecking order for the business, he observed that "TV still has a place but the fax machine still has a place too and I'm not about to create a fax machine marketing strategy. Digital is the most relevant channel for our audience."

Evidence of the potential of social platforms, in particular, came from Dan Moseley, account director for Adidas at the We Are Social agency.

Speaking at Social Media Week in London, he revealed that retention rates for the brand's Snapchat Stories were "insane".

"It [Snapchat] is regularly topping out 80% to 90%," he said – much higher than anything achieved on YouTube, which has been a major vehicle for the brand over the past 18 months.

Much of this success has been driven by influencers, The Drum reported, one example being the present of a Geofilter to rapper Stormzy at his birthday event. This was attended by only 400 people but the filter was seen by nearly 3m people.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, The Drum, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff