The Brand in Hand; Mobile Marketing at Adidas

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The Brand in Hand; Mobile Marketing at Adidas
Adidas was founded in Germany in became an important supplier of footwear after Second World War. Later, it expanded its footwear line to include fringe sports. While Nike is the global leader in athletic shoe market, Adidas is nothing more than the second place in that market because it started its business in the field of soccer shoe market. So, Adidas could not handle the whole athletic shoe market. Later on, Adidas wanted to expand its capability on the shoe market. In order to satisfy the market’s need in depth, Adidas also went for the basketball market. However, Adidas found that marketing is much more important because shoe is in the “shopping goods” category. It means that products from different brands have high homogeneity. Adidas must have a good marketing strategy if they don’t want to be in a price war. So, Adidas outsources its production and focus on marketing in the 1990s.

Marketing campaigns;
In the marketing process, Adidas launched several campaigns and we are going to show you briefly in the following table:

Adidas’ major turning points


Campaign for soccer footwear leader


Focus on U.S. market


“Colours” campaign in Sweden


“Living Billboard” in Japan


“Vertical Soccer Field” campaign

T-MAC4: The first laceless basketball shoes

“Impossible is Nothing” campaign

15~25% of total marketing budget on new media

Partnered with MTV

“Match Centre” campaign

“Respect M.E.” campaign

Suggested strategies
On the other hand, we want to give Adidas some suggestions in the future. First of all, Nike is the strongest competitor to Adidas as we know. Second, Nike’s capital capability is also huge. So, it’s certainly foolish for Adidas to compete with Nike in a price war. According to the above analysis, Adidas can try to differentiate itself from Nike with different aspects:

• Cooperate with reference groups: Adidas can sponsor some sport stars and launch some limited edition products related to those sport stars.

• Cooperate with famous designers: Adidas can cooperate with famous designers to establish new product-line which can magnify its fashion and casual style.

• Change the traditional image of sport: Traditional image of sport is sweatiness and smell. Adidas need to establish a positive or even beautiful image for exercise, to attract youth and female in particular.

The first point of view mainly provides evidences in the case. Adidas’s media campaign were designed to follow 3 steps: impact, involvement and activation, it tried hard to keep the track on the advantages of the fad of Internet, cell phone, 3G cellular telephony, Hip-pop etc, so that it can provide brand image beyond text messages, like ring-tones, wallpaper, video games, new products, sports news, living sport match scores.

Event No.Evidences from the case
1In 2002, Adidas’s first attempt to interactive mobile marketing was in Sweden, with a campaign called “Colours”, using very simple banners and wallpapers for downloading phone wallpaper with Adidas logo. This campaign leaded to huge access.

2Another pilot involved a ring tone program in UK, with a small fee, which resulted in 6,000,000 downloads.
3Adidas envisioned its own broadband channel that could be accessed through an Adidas icon. Users could then enter a virtual “Adidas World”
4Adidas hired a software development firm to create an arcade-style soccer game applet that could be downloaded for a fee of £1.99.
5In early 2004, Adidas took over the Yahoo portal to promote “Impossible is Nothing” campaign with famous boxing star, Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali. 6Adidas adopted an “Opt-in” policy, users had to request, for all Internet and mobile advertising.

7Adidas envisioned a platform that would allow users to manage a variety of...
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