Being the sneaker freak that I am, I think Adidas sneakers are one of the most recognizable shoes today. Aside from the three stripes accompanying the Adidas’ shoe design, there’s that classic, sleek feel to almost all Adidas shoes, especially, on its Originals and Style Essentials product lines. Adidas’ popularity could be attributed to their commitment to quality and performance – and there’s also that occasional marketing campaign that catapults their products in to pop culture icon status.
Adidas’ popularity can be traced back to its first incarnation – a company ran by two brothers, Adi Dassler and Rudolf Dassler. Prior to becoming Adidas, the company was known as Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (lit. Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). The shoe company achieved its first success when Adi Dassler went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics to market their track shoes. It was during that time that Adi Dassler persuaded Jesse Owens to wear their shoes during the span of the Olympics. This resulted in four gold medals for Owens. After the Olympics and the performance of Owens, the Dassler brothers received letters and offers from different teams interested in their shoe, and as people would put it “the rest was history”.
Looking back at Adidas’ marketing campaigns, much of their focus was on well-known sports personalities and their achievements. Adidas often highlights the achievements and feats of athletes they sponsor. Here are some of the ads created by Adidas then.
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Much of Adidas’ success could be attributed to their consistent presence in the World Cup and the Olympics. They often sponsor national teams in the World Cup and individual athletes in the Olympics. Today, Adidas holds multiple national team sponsorships and as well as official sponsorship of different sports leagues around the globe. Notable leagues include the NBA, the FIFA World Cup, and other collegiate leagues such as the US NCAA.
In much recent times, Adidas split its branding into three different product lines – Originals, Performance, and Style Essentials. The Originals brand cater to the creative, artistic, and extreme sports markets, the Performance brand focuses on the original aim of Adi Dassler – to provide quality equipment to all athletes in their respective field, and the Style Essentials is focused on the fashion market, often tying up with designers to create unique designs. They’ve also recently launched the NEO label which focuses on teenagers and provides a sport-casual flavor to their style.
Adidas’ corporate branding changed during the late 1990s, from the classic 1972 trefoil corporate logo to the trademark three stripes. It can also be noted that the three stripes logo was actually bought from Kahru Sports, a Finnish sports brand, in 1951. Today, the trefoil logo is exclusively used on the Originals product line, taking advantage of Adidas’ classic shoes using the logo.