Adidas, Europe’s largest sportswear company, specializes in footwear, shirts, bags, and other athletic equipment; which all bear the brand’s famous “three parallel bars” trademark. As the second largest sportswear company in the world, Adidas rakes in about $15.6 billion worth of sales each year.
The German company owes its business prowess to founder Adolf “Adi” Dassler. Adi’s interest in shoes started after his service in World War I when he made sports shoes in their Bavaria home.
In 1924, he opened the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) with the help of his brother Rudolf “Rudi” Dassler. Adi provided shoes for a handful of athletes in the 1928 Olympics. This sponsorship helped pave the way for the international growth of the shoe company.
After splitting with his brother in 1948 (Rudi went to create the Puma label), Adi formally registered the label – which is a fusion of his first and last name (“Adi,” his moniker, and “Das,” short for Dassler). Initially some people thought that “Adidas” was an acronym of All Day I Dream About Sports, but this statement was just incorporated after the name was christened.
Under new management
When Adolf Dassler’s son Horst died in 1987, French magnate Bernard Tapie acquired the company for ₣1.6 billion French Francs. Under new management, the company was brought to new life as major changes arose. In fact, Tapie was responsible for relegating the production to Asia as well as recruiting music legend Madonna as an endorser. However in 1992, the company was sold to Robert Louis-Dreyfus for ₣2.85 billion.
Under Louis-Dreyfus, Adidas continued to expand. In the late 1990s, Adidas branched out into three groups to focus on each specialty. The three groups are Adidas Performance, which is a line dedicated to an athlete’s lifestyle; Adidas Originals, which is a fashion and lifestyle collection, and Style Essentials, whose frontrunner Y-3 is spearheaded by Japanese fashion designer Kohji Yamamoto.
In 1997, it acquired ski wear specialist Salomon Group, which was later renamed as Adidas-Salomon. However after acquiring the company for 8 years, the company sold it to Finnish company Amer Sports and acquired Reebok. This gave them the opportunity to further compete with sportswear leader Nike in terms of sales in the U.S.
As of the moment, Adidas has headquarters in its native home of Germany, Japan, England, Canada, Hong Kong, Spain, and Australia.
With the goal of creating high quality sporting wear, Adidas added more sophisticated touches to their collection by enlisting the help of renowned fashion designer Stella McCartney. The fashionable women’s line, which was launched in 2004, was aptly named Adidas by Stella McCartney.
In 2005, Adidas broke the technological barrier by creating Adidas 1, the first shoe which made use of a microprocessor. This chip is capable of analyzing 5 million calculations per second and can adjust the shoe cushion to adapt to its environment. The shoe, coined as the “World’s First Intelligent Shoe,” has a battery which can run for over 100 hours. Late 2005, Adidas unveiled a new version of Adidas 1 which has an advanced cushioning range and a new motor with additional torque.
A year later, Adidas successfully closed an 11-year deal with NBA to become the league’s official manufacturer of apparels and team-inspired “Superstar” basketball shoes. Adidas is also in charge of manufacturing WNBA and NBDL jerseys and other products.
Presently, Adidas is the sponsor of athletes from different sports. It is an eager sponsor of various soccer (or football) clubs including: Liverpool F.C., Chelsea F.C., Real Madrid, Newcastle United F.C., IFK Göteborg, A.C. Milan, Olympique de Marseille, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich, FC Schalke 04, Benfica, Fenerbahçe SK, UANL Tigres, Club Atletico River Plate, SE Palmeiras, Club de Fútbol Universidad de Chile, and the Colombian soccer teams Club Deportivo Los Millonarios, Deportivo Cali and Atletico Nacional. Adidas has also been an eager sponsor of the German soccer team.
Adidas is also the sponsor of rugby teams All Blacks (New Zealand national team), Los Pumas (Argentina national team,) Munster, and Stade Francais.
In addition, the label is the main sponsor of the English and Australian Cricket Teams, and Indian teams Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.
In its passion to provide quality apparel to a crowd with ever-changing tastes, Adidas collaborated with Lawrence Dawanyi, a young British designer, to produce a sophisticated clothing line which will be released on the summer of 2009.
With Adidas’ quality shoes, clothes, bags, among many other things, it goes without saying that “Impossible is Nothing.”