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Adidas: famous sports brand latest to get bodypaint and human statues

Adidas ltd AG is a major German sports apparel manufacturer, part of the Adidas Group, consisting of Reebok sportswear company, Taylormade golf company, Maxfli golf balls, and Adidas golf and is the second largest sportswear manufacturer in the world. The company was named after its founder, Adolf (Adi) Dassler, in 1948. Dassler had been producing shoes starting in 1920 in Herzogenaurach, near Nuremberg, with the help of his brother, Rudolf Dassler, who later formed the other shoe company Puma. The company registered as adidas AG (with lower-case lettering) on 18 August 1949. The company's clothing and shoe designs typically feature three parallel stripes, and this same motif is incorporated into Adidas's current official logo. The company revenue for 2005 was listed at €6.6 billion, or about US$8.4 billion. Adidas revenue for 2006 was listed at €10.084 billion, or about $13.625 billion. Adidas perfumery and personal care products are manufactured by Coty, Inc. under license worldwide.

The Tapie affair

After a period of serious 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, a business 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.

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 for then-current 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 a 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 (and cousin of Julia Louis-Dreyfus from the Seinfeld TV series), 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. He spent 6 months in La Santé prison in Paris in 1997 after being sentenced to 18.

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

Post-Tapie era

In 1997, Adidas AG acquired the Salomon Group who specialised in ski wear, and its official corporate name was changed to Adidas-Salomon AG. 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.

In 2003, Adidas filed a lawsuit in 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.

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", and it has been critically acclaimed.

Also in 2005, on May 3, 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 in January 2006[2][3] 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.

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 November 25, 2005, Adidas released a new version of the Adidas 1. There is an increased range of cushioning, meaning the shoe can become even softer or firmer and a new motor with 153 percent more torque.

On April 11, 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-colored 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. When Reebok was acquired by Adidas, the NBA was allowed to find a new apparel provider, which turned out to be Adidas.

Production policies

According to the Adidas website as of May 2007:

Facility locations

"At May 1st, 2007, we worked with more than 1080 factories are operated by independent business partners (excluding factories of our licensees)...67% of our factories are located in Asia, 19% in the Americas and 14% in Europe and Africa. 22% of all these factories are in China."

Enforcement guidelines

"In 2010, we issued the enforcement guidelines to our suppliers. The guidelines cover the principles of enforcement of the "Workplace Standards", and those sanctions or remedies we will apply where the supply chain code of conduct is breached...We strongly believe in a partnership approach, and where a supplier is performing poorly in terms of "Workplace Standards" compliance we will work closely with them to find solutions. However, where we find ongoing and serious non-compliances and a lack of commitment on the part of management to address the issues, we will when appropriate, issue a formal warning letter...On any given issue, three warning letters will usually result in an immediate recommendation to terminate. In very serious cases, a single letter will be issued advising our suppliers that SEA is recommending to our Sourcing department that the business relationship be terminated. Our Legal department would then follow-up with a formal notification of the end of the business relationship.

In total, in 2005, 10 warning letters were issued, all to suppliers in Asia. This is 19 fewer than in 2004."

Environmental requirements

"Business partners must make progressive improvement in environmental performance in their own operations and require the same of their partners, suppliers and subcontractors. This includes: integrating principles of sustainability into business decisions; responsible use of natural resources; adoption of cleaner production and pollution prevention measures; and designing and developing products, materials and technologies according to the principles of sustainability."

Sponsorship

Adidas sponsorships

Adidas is very active at sponsoring events, clubs and athletes.

It was announced on 20th September 2007 that Adidas will be the sportswear sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games, in a deal worth an estimated $200 million

Mi Adidas

Mi Adidas is the customization program of the sporting goods manufacturer Adidas using the concept of mass customization. Adidas offers various shoes of different sport categories in this customization program. The customizable footwear models are defined by Adidas. The option to customize a shoe model is always an additional option of an existing shoe model, the customer is not able to fully create a new shoe but instead has the choice of (for example) choosing between different types of outsoles or different softness of cushioning for a running shoe. The shoe model can be adjusted in different length and width for both left and right foot, in different technologies and in design. The customization for the length and width is based on a static (length and width) and dynamic (impact on foot when hitting the ground) measurement. These measurements require specific measurement devices that only can be found in particular retail stores so far. Other sporting good manufacturers, such as Converse (Converse One), Nike (NikeID), Reebok (Rbk Custom), Puma (Mongolian Shoe BBQ) and K-Swiss (my K-Swiss), also offer customization programs. These programs very often can be found online as they focus on design customization.

Lacrosse

In 2007, Adidas announced, through advertising, the future production of lacrosse equipment to include shafts, heads and possibly protective gear.

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"

"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".

TV commercials

Adidas's worldwide line of commercials showcase events that are truly impossible, such as José + 10 with two boys in a run down lot gathering many world football stars to play a pick-up game. These stars include present players like Steven Gerrard, Djibril Cissé, Juan Román Riquelme, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Jermain Defoe, Oliver Kahn, Frank Lampard, Arjen Robben, Cha Du Ri, Andrés Guardado, Shunsuke Nakamura, Lukas Podolski, Sean Lam, Michael Ballack, Alessandro Nesta, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Jozy Altidore, Raúl, Damien Duff, and Kaká. They also include past stars Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini. [6] However the commercials do not only focus on soccer: for example, other TV ads feature long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie and NBA Superstars Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Chauncey Billups, Gilbert Arenas and a few Rugby Union players, like Jonny Wilkinson, Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Jonah Lomu and Daniel Carter. Commercials in Australia also feature swimmer Ian Thorpe. Also many other sporting commercials such as for golf; including Sergio Garcia and Natalie Gulbis. All are representative of Adidas's involvement in sports. Former football referee, Pierluigi Collina has also appeared in adverts for Adidas, most notably during the 2002 World Cup.

The great cricketing maestro Sachin Tendulkar is also the ambassador for this brand.

References

1. ^ History @ Adidas-Group.com
2. ^ History @ Adidas.com
3. ^ Reebok History 2000-
(Credit: Wikipedia)

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