Brand war at its finest:
Adidas and Nike have been rivals fighting for the same market (athletic shoes mainly) for quite some time. These are the two goliaths in the athletic shoe and cleat industries, both successful in their own right but the questions are who is winner and is there really a “loser”? Obviously, in the society in which we live there is always a winner and a loser and sports shoe companies are not exempt from this competition. Both of these companies have quite a roster of celebrity endorsers on each of their respective “teams”, which makes the competition a stiff one.
The Nike/Adidas rivalry is one that has been going on for a long time, and each company has experienced hardships and triumphs throughout their existence. Adidas was created in 1948 by Adi Dassler, and is still going strong today. Nike was started in 1964 by Phil Knight and has a come a long way, despite Adidas’ 16 year head-start, to catch up and possibly overtake Adidas. Mike has used great marketing techniques and “recruiting” to get high profile athletes to join the Nike side. Adidas has followed the same path in order to be extremely successful. This marketing fight these two brands engage in is one I like to call the “ Sport-wear Showdown”.
Nike, whose motto is “Just Do It”, was born out of a company named Blue Ribbon Sports. The company did not believe that name adequately motivated people to want to buy their products, so they changed their name to “Nike”, the greek goddess of “Victory”. Nike utilizes a massive television commercial campaign to advertise their variety of footwear, sporting apparel, equipment and services. These marketing efforts have helped Nike to achieve $25 billion in revenue; yes billion with a “B”, in its last fiscal year. This revenue translates into a 41% market share of athletic accessories.
Adidas also uses a catchy slogan: “Impossible is nothing”. This slogan is apropos given that they have substantial ground to make up in market share, which is currently only have 10% of total market share for athletic shoes.
These two mammoths companies have experienced exponential growth, but still have plenty of room to grow, guaranteeing that their rivalry will last for many more decades. Right now the battle may not seem close based on market share but over the past five years Adidas has actually cut that gap, so it remains to be seen who will have more control of the market in the future.
The future may be decided by these companies recruiting efforts and resultant celebrity roster. Each company boasts allstar caliber athletes as endorsers, a proven marketing successful method. For example, each team has a veritable allstar roster of basketball stars. “Team Nike” has at PG (Chris Paul), SG (Kobe Bryant), SF (Kevin Durant), PF (Lebron James), and C (Amare Stoudemire). “Team Adidas” is a formidable opponent with Derrick Rose at PG, Damian Lillard at SG, Josh Smith at SF, Tim Duncan at PF and Dwight Howard at C. You’ve got to give credit to the marketing executives for lining up this talent to help sell their products.
Although the research may say that Nike is the clear winner, the same data shows the upward trajectory of Adidas in obtaining market share thus giving hope that Adidas isn’t that far behind. I like to think of the comparison like the movie “Dodgeball”. Nike is Globo Gym, a team comprised is weightlifting behemoths, and Adidas is the Average Joes, a team of misfits. I’m a sucker for underdog stories so go Adidas go.
adidas athletes (Derrick Rose and Damian Lillard)
Overall the winner, is Nike but they don’t sweep the floor with Adidas as Adidas absolutely kills it in the soccer cleat and accessories market, a market that has been growing by leaps and bounds given the recent explosive growth of soccer. Adidas certainly found their niche in this market. The problem, though, is that Adidas is fighting Nike for complete control in each sport and they have to fight tooth and nail to make sure they stay afloat.