Adidas Type

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1924 (Registered in 1949)[1]


Herzogenaurach, Germany

Key people

Adolf Dassler (Founder)
Herbert Hainer (CEO) (2001-)
Erich Stamminger (CEO, Adidas Brand)
Hans Friderichs (Chairman of the supervisory board) (2007-)
Patrik Nillson (President, adidas America)


Sportswear and Sports Goods




▲€10.299 billion ($15.6 billion) (2007)

Net income

▲€551 million (2007)


27,000 (2006)


Adidas Ltd. AG (ISIN: DE0005003404) (pronounced [AH-dee-'dahs]; often /əˈdiːdəs/ in English) is a German sports apparel manufacturer and part of the Adidas Group, which consists of Reebok sportswear company, TaylorMade-adidas golf company, and Rockport. Besides sports footwear, the company also produces other products such as bags, shirts, and other sports and clothing related goods. The company is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest sportswear manufacturer in the world.[2]

The company's clothing and shoe designs typically feature three parallel bars, and the same motif is incorporated into Adidas's current official logo. The company revenue for 2006 was listed at 10.084 billion, or about US $13.625 billion and the 2007 figure was listed at €10.299 billion, or about $15.6 billion.

Financial data in millions of euros[3]


















1 098

Net Results






Net Debt

1 498




2 231


Adolf ("Adi") Dassler started to produce his own sports shoes in his mother's wash kitchen after his return from World War I. In 1924, his brother Rudolf (Rudi) Dassler joined the business which became Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory) and did well—selling pairs of shoes each year before World War II.

However the brothers did not get along well, and in 1948 they split us with Rudi forming Puma, and Adi forming adidas.

The company formally registered as adidas AG (with lower case lettering) on 18 August 1949. The phrase All Day I Dream About Sports, although sometimes considered the origin of the adidas name, was applied retroactively. The name is actually a portmanteau from "Adi" (a nickname for Adolf) and "Das" (from "Dassler").[1]

The Tapie affair

After a period of trouble following the death of Adolf Dassler's son Horst Dassler in 1987, the company was bought in 1989 by French industrialist Bernard Tapie, for 1.6 billion French francs (now €243.918 million), which Tapie borrowed. Tapie was at the time a famous specialist of rescuing bankrupt companies, an expertise on which he built his fortune.

Tapie decided to move production offshore to Asia. He also hired Madonna for promotion. He sent Walter Head, from Christchurch, New Zealand, a shoe sales representative, to Germany and met Adolf Dassler's descendants (Amelia Randall Dassler and Bella Beck Dassler) and was sent back with a few items to promote the company there.

A pair of adidas "Samba" football trainers.

In 1992, Tapie was unable to pay the interest from his loan. He mandated the Crédit Lyonnais bank to sell Adidas, and the bank subsequently converted the outstanding debt owed into equity of the enterprise, which was unusual as per the prevalent French banking practice. Apparently, the state-owned bank had tried to get Tapie out of dire financial straits as a personal favour to Tapie, reportedly because Tapie was Minister of Urban Affairs (ministre de la Ville) in the French government at the time.

In February 1993, Crédit Lyonnais sold Adidas to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, a friend of Bernard Tapie for a much higher amount of money than what Tapie owed, 4.485 billion (€683.514 million) francs rather than 2.85 billion (€434.479 million). Tapie later sued the bank, because he felt "spoiled" by the indirect sale.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus became the new CEO of the company. He is also the president of the Olympique de Marseille football team, a team Tapie owned until 1993.

Tapie filed for personal bankruptcy in 1994. He was the object of several lawsuits, notably related to match fixing at the soccer club. During 1997, he served 6 months of an 18 month prison sentence in La Santé prison in Paris.

In 2005, French courts awarded Tapie a €135 million compensation (about 886 million francs).

Post-Tapie era

In 1994, combined with FIFA Youth Group, SOS Children's Villages became the main beneficiary.

In 1997, Adidas AG acquired the Salomon Group who specialized in ski wear, and its official corporate name was changed to Adidas-Salomon AG because with this acquisition Adidas also acquired the Taylormade Golf company and Maxfli which allowed them to compete with Nike Golf.

In 1998, Adidas sued the NCAA over their rules limiting the size and number of commercial logos on team uniforms and apparel. Adidas withdrew the suit, and the two groups established guidelines as to what three-stripe designs would be considered uses of the Adidas trademark. Adidas launched legal proceedings against the world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, claiming that it copied some of its products as revealed by Sanjay Sinha of ADIDAS INDIA[5]

In 2003, Adidas filed a lawsuit in a British court challenging Fitness World Trading's use of a two-stripe motif similar to Adidas's three stripes. The court ruled that despite the simplicity of the mark, Fitness World 's use was infringing because the public could establish a link between that use and Adidas's mark.[6]

In September 2004, top English fashion designer Stella McCartney launched a joint-venture line with Adidas, establishing a long-term partnership with the corporation. This line is a sports performance collection for women called "Adidas by Stella McCartney",[7] and it has been critically acclaimed.[8]

Also in 2005, on 3 May, Adidas told the public that they sold their partner company Salomon Group for €485m to Amer Sports of Finland.

In August 2005, Adidas declared its intention to buy British rival Reebok for $3.8 billion (US). This takeover was completed with partnership in January 2006[1] and meant that the company will have business sales closer to those of Nike in North America. The acquisition of Reebok will also allow Adidas to compete with Nike worldwide as the number two athletic shoemaker in the world.[9]

Adidas has corporate headquarters in Germany, and many other business locations around the world such as Hong Kong, Toronto, Taiwan, England, Japan, Australia and Spain. Mainly sold in the U.S., Adidas makes lots of assets from these countries and is expanding to more oversea countries.

In 2005, Adidas introduced the Adidas 1, the first ever production shoe to utilize a microprocessor. Dubbed by the company "The World's First Intelligent Shoe", it features a microprocessor capable of performing 5 million calculations per second that automatically adjusts the shoe's level of cushioning to suit its environment. The shoe requires a small, user-replaceable battery that lasts for approximately 100 hours of running. It currently retails for $250 (USD). On 25 November, 2005, Adidas released a new version of the Adidas 1 with an increased range of cushioning, allowing the shoe to become softer or firmer, and a new motor with 153 percent more torque.[citation needed]

On 11 April 2006, Adidas announced an 11-year deal to become the official NBA apparel provider. They will make NBA, NBDL, and WNBA jerseys and products as well as team-coloured versions of the "Superstar" basketball shoe. This deal (worth over $400 million) takes the place of the previous 10-year Reebok deal that was put in place in 2001.



Adidas currently manufactures several running shoes, including the adiStar Control 5, the adiStar Ride (the replacement for the adiStar Cushion 6), the Supernova Sequence (the replacement for the Supernova Control 10), and the Supernova Cushion 7 (which will soon be replaced by the Supernova Glide), among others. In addition, their performance apparel is widely used by runners. Adidas also uses kangaroo leather to make their more expensive shoes.[10][11]


One of the main focuses of Adidas is football kit and associated equipment. Their football boots, team kits, and warm up suits are widely used by top professional club teams. Adidas also provides apparel and equipment for all teams in Major League Soccer. Adidas remain a major player in the supply of team kits for international football teams. Current examples include France, Germany, Greece, Romania, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Japan, Nigeria and Israel. The company has been an innovator in the area of footwear for the sport with notable examples including development of the Copa Mondial moulded boot used for matches on firm dry pitches for almost forty years. The studded equivalent was named World Cup follow in celebration of the 1978 tournament won by Argentina, one of the many nations it supplied at the time. Adidas became renowned for advancing the "Predator" boot design developed by ex-Liverpool and Australian international player Craig Johnston. This groundbreaking design featured a ribbed surface structure for the upper leather of the shoe, used to accent the movement of the ball when struck. Highly skilled players claimed they were able to curve the flight of the ball more easily when wearing this new contoured design.[citation needed] As the development and popularity of Football continued Adidas played a leading role in shaping the style of the play itself. FIFA, the sports governing body, commissed specially designed footballs for use in its own World Cup tournaments to favour more attacking play. The balls supplied for the 2006 Germany World Cup were particular noteworthy for their ability to travel further than previous types when struck, leading to longer range goal strikes that were intended to increase the number of goals scores and increase spectator enjoyment. Goalkeepers were believed to be less comfortable with the design claiming it would move significantly and unpredictably in flight.[citation needed]


In 1997, adidas purchased TaylorMade, and made it a subsidiary. The image and focus of TaylorMade was redirected shortly after the acquisition to take over the driver market. The company succeeded in achieving this goal in late 2005 when it officially became the No. 1 driver in golf. On 14 October 2008, adidas, through its subsidiary TaylorMade, acquired Ashworth (clothing) for $72.8 million, assuming $46.3 million in debt.[12]


In 2008, Adidas made their first big move into the cricket market, sponsoring English batting star Kevin Pietersen & Ian Bell. Their products are now available, notably the Pellara and Libro ranges.


Top players past and present have been known for using Adidas footwear, among the most famous are:

  • Niclas Alexandersson (Sweden)

  • David Beckham (England)

  • Novak Djokovic (Serbia)

  • Pontus Wernbloom (Sweden)

  • Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)

  • Steven Gerrard (England)

  • Kaká (Brazil)

  • Stefan Selakovic (Sweden)

  • Frank Lampard (England)

  • Lionel Messi (Argentina)

  • Raul (Spain)

  • David Villa (Spain)

  • Reggie Bush (USA) (American Football)

  • Emre Belözoğlu (Turkey)

  • Arjen Robben (Netherlands)

  • Zico (Brazil)

  • Zinédine Zidane (France)

  • Cristian Chivu (Romania)

  • Dwight Howard (USA)(basketball)

  • Kevin Garnett (USA)(basketball)

  • Tracy McGrady (USA)(basketball)

  • George Williams (UK)(table-tennis)

  • Paul Davies (UK)(Ten-Pin bowling)

  • Kevin Pietersen (England) (Cricket)

  • Ian Bell (England) (Cricket)

  • Sachin Tendulkar (India) (Cricket)

  • Virender Sehwag (India) (Cricket)

  • Sania Mirza(India) (Tennis)


In 2007, Adidas announced the future production of lacrosse equipment, and will sponsor the Adidas National Lacrosse Classic in July 2008 for the top 600 high school underclassmen lacrosse players in the United States.[13]

Mi Adidas

Mi Adidas is a mass customization program offering the option to customize a shoe model with the choice of different types of outsoles, cushioning, and other parameters.


Main article: Adidas sponsorships

Adidas are the main sponsor of the highly successful New Zealand national rugby team, The All Blacks. Adidas also supplies match balls to all All Blacks home matches as well as making the jerseys. Adidas also are the kit supplier to the Argentina national rugby team Los Pumas. Adidas also are the kit suppliers to Stade Francais and Munster.

Adidas are the main sponsors and kit sponsors of the extremely successful Australian Cricket Team and the England Cricket Team. They are also the main sponsors of the Indian Star Cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Adidas are the main sponsors of Australian Domestic Cricket Competitions - Pura Cup, KFC Twenty20 Big Bash, Ford Ranger One Day Cup. They are sponsors of the Indian Premier League Teams Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians.

Adidas also sponsors the St George Illawarra Dragons Rugby League team in the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) competition.

Adidas is the longstanding kit provider to the Germany national football team, a sponsorship that began in 1954 and is contracted to continue until at least 2018.

Adidas are very active at sponsoring top football clubs such as IFK Göteborg, A.C. Milan, Olympique de Marseille, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich, FC Schalke 04, Benfica, Chelsea F.C., Liverpool F.C., Newcastle United F.C., Fenerbahçe SK, UANL Tigres, Real Madrid, Club Atletico River Plate, SE Palmeiras, Club de Fútbol Universidad de Chile, and the Colombian football teams Club Deportivo Los Millonarios, Deportivo Cali and Atletico Nacional.

Adidas and Major League Soccer announced a 10-year sponsorship agreement in November 2004 to make Adidas the official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier for the league, and to work together to create a developmental league for MLS.[14]

Adidas also sponsors events such as The London Marathon.

For the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Adidas spent 70 million sponsoring the event amid criticisms.[15]

Former management

  • CEO (1993-2001): Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Current executive board

  • CEO Adidas-group: Herbert Hainer

  • Finance Adidas-group: Robin J. Stalker

  • CEO Adidas brand: Erich Stamminger

  • Global Operations Adidas-group: Glenn S. Bennett


"Impossible is Nothing" is the current mainstream marketing slogan for Adidas. This campaign was developed by 180\TBWA based in Amsterdam but also with significant work being done by TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco - particularly for its basketball campaign "Believe In Five".

Adidas Originals

Refers to the line of casual clothes and new campaign launched by adidas around the beginning of 1996, when adidas separated the brand into 3 main groups, each with its own focus. Four videos have been released to date, including "Original Games", which shows a group of guys and girls playing modified Olympic type games in the streets; "Handbags For Feet", which journeys through the streets of Berlin with a girl named Amelie taking interesting photos; "The Story of Adi Dassler", which tells the story of the man who started adidas and "Sounds of The City", which shows how DJ Theo Parish collects sounds for his music.

"adidas Originals invites today’s lifestyle consumers to Celebrate Originality through an exceptional brand campaign and a variety of product themes inspired by the rich sporting heritage of adidas and the global reach of the Trefoil."[16]


During the mid to late 1990s Adidas divided the brand into three main groups with each a separate focus. Adidas performance was designed to maintain their devotion to the athlete; Adidas originals with its focus on fashion and life style; and Style essentials with the main group within this one being Y-3.


Adidas collaborated with Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto to create Y-3. Adidas is currently working with up and coming British designer Lawrence Dawanyi, the range is set to be unveiled by the Summer of 2009.

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