When the Olympics kick off in London in the summer of 2012, it won’t just be the best sprinters, swimmers, gymnasts, basketball players, rowers, table tennis players, and pole vaulters in the world going head to head. It means the world’s biggest brands incessantly pushing their products hard from the lead-up to the July 27 Opening Ceremonies to the Closing on August 12 in the hopes of ruling the international roost of their market.
Adidas, the official outfitter of the London 2012 Olympics, expects to sell £100 million worth of themed merchandise, according to the Financial Times, sparking hopes that the event will help the brand unseat Nike as the sportswear leader in the United Kingdom.
“The Olympics is a springboard for our plan to take UK leadership by 2015,” Herbert Hainer, Adidas Group CEO, commented to Marketing Week. “Nike has always been first with major cities but that trend is shifting in our favor and we have the momentum and the Games to help us grain control.”
MW points out that Adidas currently owns about 15% of the £4 billion market, while Nike has about 18% of it.
The London Organizing Committee pledged to create a legacy by encouraging people to be involved in sport, Marketing Week points out, and Adidas “believes that it is the ‘most relevant’ Olympic sponsor to help them see that through. The German company specifically thinks its AdiZone sport facilities, which offer free space for soccer, basketball, tennis, and gym activities, will not only encourage people to continue getting involved with sports, but, not so coincidentally, also desire products made by Adidas.
The company has already opened 50 of those facilities around the United Kingdom, Marketing Week reports, but “hopes to have opened more than 100” before the Games begin.
Hainer also noted that Adidas will put more money toward digital marketing than it has in the past with these Games “will use digital and social media to activate its London 2012 sponsorship in the next 15 months,” MW adds.
Meanwhile, Metro UK notes that Adidas will be providing all of the clothing for volunteers and Hainer says they will all be made from recycled materials. In addition, the United Kingdom’s team uniforms will be made by Adidas and designed by Stella McCartney, which the company hopes will make it a must-have for every man, woman, and child in the UK.
The brand is also sponsoring "adiZones" throughout the UK, an innovative project to inspire local communities in the lead-up to the London 2012 games. There are now 50 of the giant multi-sport outdoor venues — that's Olympic gold medal swimmer Ian Thorpe, above, visiting an adiZone in London at top — that are free to use and inspired by the sports of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
While the Olympics are supposedly all about unity, Adidas didn’t exactly start from that kind of sweet idea back in 1948 — although the brand is rooted in competitiveness.
The company’s founder, Adolf “Adi” Dassler, and his brother had a big falling-out in the company they started together and went their separate ways. The brother, Rudolf, started Puma. Still competitors, of course, today, the two brands remain based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, which claims a population of nearly 23,000.