Present a Comparative Business History of Two Firms - Adidas & Nike in Respect to Their Rivalry

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Present a comparative business history of two firms - Adidas & Nike in respect to their rivalry

Present a comparative business history of two firms - Adidas & Nike in respect to their rivalry


In my essay I introduce the topic by presenting a brief history of the beginnings of each of the two firms. Adidas originating in Germany and Nike originating in America. I then go on to introduce some of the first products the companies made and the technological breakthroughs they respectively made. I then move onto discuss how both of the firms have used well known athletes and celebrities to endorse there products and how this has affected there sales. I identify how advertising has changed over the history of the companies and how it is no longer about marketing the products that they sell. The companies now focus on marketing the brand over the product to improve brand equity. I then talk about how Nike has used ambush marketing to reduce the impact of some of Adidas’ marketing campaigns. I then discuss the flotation of Nike and Adidas on the stock exchange and how the new CEO’s at Adidas have changed the way that the company operates. In conclusion I found that both companies are trying to enter each others market of origin by purchasing a smaller company from there continent, for example Nike purchasing Umbro. I found that Adidas must introduce a pioneering product or the will face the risk of falling further behind to Nike.

Present a comparative business history of two firms - Adidas & Nike in respect to their rivalry

Adidas and Nike are two of largest firms in the sports industry.

“adidas commands nearly a quarter (22 %) of the worldwide athletic footwear and apparel market.” (Mcafee/ 4/1/10/ [Online])

“adidas trails behind only Nike, which holds a worldwide market share of 33%.” (Mcafee/ 4/1/10/ [Online])

The two modern giants are at the forefront of many technological advances in sports attire and hardware. The competition between the two firms has grown over the pairs history. I aim to compare and contrast the two in respect to their rivalry, in order to obtain a greater understanding of the way they operate and identify their similarities and differences.

Originating in Herzogenaurach, Germany, Adidas was founded by Adolf Dasler, a man whose aim was to provide every athlete with the best footwear for their respective discipline. Dasler was a pioneer in the sports-shoe industry and throughout his working life created some of the footwear that has revolutionised sport as we know it today.

“700 patents and other industrial property rights worldwide are proof of his permanent quest for perfection.” (Adidas/ 4/1/10/ [Online])

Blue Ribbon Sports was founded on 25th of January, 1964 by Bill Bowerman, an American track and field coach and Philip Knight, one of Bowerman’s pupils at the university of Oregon. Bowerman originally hand crafted shoes for his runners and believed,

“there’s a direct correlation between equipment and athletic performance” (Nike Biz/ 4/1/10/ [Online])

In 1964 the company sealed the right to distribute Onitsuka Tiger shoes, the business relationship ended in 1971 after a disagreement with the Japanese firm. Nike was born in 1971 along with the release of Bowerman’s first shoe ‘The Nike’. Adi Dasler was well on his way to fulfilling his dream, in 1928 athletes at the olympic games in Amsterdam wore shoes from his workshop. By 1930 Dasler had a workforce of nearly 100 employees and was making 30 types of shoes for 11 different sports. It was after the second world war in 1948 when ‘Adidas’ was introduced as the company name. The iconic three stripes were registered in 1949 and to this day are recognisable all over the world. It was the 1954 world cup final when the German team were given boots with screw in studs that could be changed to adapt to any weather condition, this new technology and the Germans who were the underdogs in the game helped put Adidas...
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