Marketing Strategies of Adidas- Impossible is Nothing

Company Name – Adidas AG
Founder – Adolf Dassler

Known for its iconic three-stripe logo, Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world. Adidas is acclaimed for its products like sports clothing, shoes, bags, shirts, watches, eyewear and other accessories.


How It All Started

Adolf Dassler and Rudolph Dassler formed the German Sports Shoe Company Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) in 1924. Adolf was said to be a good and thoughtful craftsman who designed and made the shoes while Rudolph was the passionate salesman.

The Summer Olympics of 1936 was a Game changer for the Dassler Brothers Company as they had convinced US Sprinter Jesse Owens one of the Olympic athletes to use their shoes. Owens’ four gold medals in that year created huge awareness of the Dassler Shoes and this was the company’s golden opportunity to advertise its products.

Somewhere around World War II, a series of rows and misunderstandings between the Dassler brothers led to their complete estrangement.

Thus was born Adidas. Adidas is a portmanteau name from its founder where “Adi” stands for Adolf and “Das” stands for Dassler.  


› Launching

Adidas was registered on 18 August 1949 by Adolf Dassler at the age of 49 after his family feud. Adidas logo consisted of three stripes pattern which had always remained constant whenever the logo was revamped. The 3 stripes are said to represent quality and leadership and maintain flexibility for the future. In 1997, Adidas added in a new team the Salomon Group and its brands Salomon, TaylorMade, Mavic and Bonfire. The company changed its name to adidas-Salomon AG.

But in 2006 the companies went separate ways. The Adidas Group now consists of Adidas, Reebok, Rockport and TaylorMade. Adidas as well has successfully extended itself into 3 sub-brands with adidas Sport Performance, adidas Originals and adidas Sport Style.


Adidas’s marketing strategy and Interesting Reasons behind its Grand Success


  • Innovation has always been a component at the heart of Adidas. The brand has been going on since way long back from the 1920s and they have produced hundreds of new silhouettes, both new and old. Even many of the sneakers that go back half a century still have a solid following today. Using technology and innovation they have always held on to the market.


  • Three Stripes – Even the logo has a great history. The three stripes was not just a logo whereas it was the logo with a function. The stripes actually were added to the upper to help hold the shoe together and provide stability. There was no expensive design study, no other marketing story, no spending lakhs on the right structure; just three stripes that helped it thrive.


  • Quality was something Adidas never compromised on. Adolf Dassler being an athlete himself, wanted to build the best possible equipment for athletes. And with time the Adidas shoes started being a style statement rather than just being known as an athlete’s brand.


  • Technology –With the help of latest technologies they have made shoes like Adidas 3D Runner( which has the spider web-inspired sole having higher density webbing in areas that typically take more abuse), Adidas Ultra Boost ( ultra-springy Boost foam that supports your weight) etc., which makes the wearer much more comfortable


  • As they say, ‘A shoe that fits one pinches another’. Adidas hence have always tried making their sportswear as per the tastes of their consumers. Sports enthusiasts, professional athletes, and fashion-forward people all over the world have a shoe that fits their taste.
adidas virat kohli ads

› Adidas Campaigns

1954 what was known as “Miracle in Bern” happened when the German national football team faced the Hungarians in the World Cup final and won. This victory was ‘Dassler (dazzling)’ for Adidas as it was then a name on every football pitch.

In 1967, Franz Beckenbauer tracksuit model celebrated its debut. It became the first piece of apparel for adidas and a whole new business sector was open to a company that, so far, was famous for its shoes. An era of the first revolution of sportswear as we know it today, where athletic apparel became cool to wear off the courts and pitches.

After a fall, in 1995 Adidas made a comeback with its new CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus and a slogan ‘We knew then, we know now’.

In 2004 Adidas bought out the biggest ever campaign it had had. “Impossible is Nothing”. It featured boxing legend Muhammad Ali, long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie, football icon David Beckham and NBA star Tracy McGrady who challenge the impossible by taking risks, setting new records, changing conventions. The campaign features 22 athletes in total, from various sports and regions, showcasing adidas’ unrivaled broad involvement in sports and unique relationships with athletes.

The campaign was aiming for a young demographic but its success is embodied in the notion that everyone could identify themselves for any specific challenge.

In 2011 Adidas launched its global campaign “All Adidas”. The campaign showcases adidas’ distinctive presence across and into different sports, cultures, and lifestyles fusing the worlds of sport, music and fashion. It features brand ambassadors from football stars Lionel Messi and David Beckham, NBA star Derrick Rose and pop icon Katy Perry.  It has the adidas skateboarding team and many more that show who when you love your game, whatever the game, you put your all into it.

In 2013 as a part of their “Unite All Originals” campaign, they released The hero film, which shows taste-making DJ/producer A-Trak reworking his single “Landline” with ambient sounds from the footage to create an exclusive, unique new song.

In 2016 it came out with a powerful campaign “Your future is not mine”. The ad features 8 upcoming artists and cultural influencers from around the world. They are Luka Sabbat, Kyu Steed, Aleali May, Ikwa Zhao, Reese Cooper, Design Butler, Yuki Matsuda and Iman Shumpert. Your future is not mine has a mesmerizing chant along with visuals that nod to the current world climate and topical issues faced by the society.

The new campaign, titled “Unleash Your Creativity” was bought out in 2017. The campaign reads “Hard work only gets you so far,” “To make a real difference, you need something more powerful. Your creativity. Unleash it and see how far you can go.”

The video features Karlie Kloss, fitness influencer Hannah Bronfman, fitness instructor and best-selling author Robin Arzon, WNBA All-Star Candace Parker and USWNT soccer star Becky Sauerbrunn and many more inspirational women who show how they go beyond the rulebook and use creativity to explore the fitness world in their own unique ways.

In 2018 they launched their campaign “See Creativity”, on Women’s Day where a series of galvanizing videos featuring women practicing different sports such as ice hockey, rugby, basketball, tennis, running and martial arts can be seen. This campaign also had a soundtrack which celebrated diversity and female empowerment.


› Conclusion

Adi Dassler died on September 6, shortly before his 78th birthday in 1978. He is a man who almost single-handedly redefined the sporting goods industry and raised the benchmark leaving behind a flourishing company. Adolf Dassler held over 700 patents related to sports shoes and other athletic equipment.

In 1978, he was inducted into the American Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame as one of the founders of the modern sporting goods industry. Adidas not only became an image of sports fashion also a unified image of sports, street, music, pop- culture, and other fashion statements, creating its significant existence through its good communication strategies.

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