Adidas: A history

First published: 05-08-2014

While Adidas is perhaps more commonly associated with sports clothing, footwear and its iconic trefoil logo, the German company also makes a variety of watches.

The firm's origins began with two brothers - Rudolph and Adolf Dassler. They began to produce shoes in their mother's wash house in Bavaria once they came back from World War I. 

While these shoes were good quality, the brothers' big break happened in 1936. Adolf drove from the ?family ?home in Bavaria to the Olympic Village in a bid to persuade sportsman Jesse Owens to use their footwear for his races. He agreed and went on ?to win four gold medals, which helped to cement a place in the fashion world for the shoes created by the Dassler brothers.

As a result of this worldwide exposure, Rudolph and Adolf were selling as many as 200,000 pairs of shoes each year. 

It is believed that tensions began to form among the two brothers and their respective wives, and while the exact moment is hard to pinpoint, by the mid-1940s their relationship had soured and was thought to be beyond repair. 

In 1948, the Dassler brothers' business was disbanded. Adolf called his firm Adidas - a mixture of his first and second name - while Rudolph took a similar approach with Ruda, although this changed to Puma.

While many consider Adidas to be short for All Day I Dream About Sport, this is in fact a backronym.  

At the moment, Adidas focuses on football kit?s? and associated equipment. The German firm recently announced a colossal £750 million ten-year sponsorship deal with football giant Manchester United, which is not too far away from the £790 million that Malcolm Glazer paid for the club in 2005.

One sporting highlight includes the creation of what is the world's lightest football boot that Real Madrid star Gareth Bale wore. Weighing in at 135 g, this model was debuted earlier this year and is 20 per cent lighter than Adidas' previous contender for this crown. 

In addition to this, Adidas was the official sponsor of the German football team who recently came up trumps in the 2014 World Cup. 

However, this is just one area in which the company operates. It ?also ?sponsors tennis players, baseball players, gymnasts, rugby players and basketball players.

In addition to this, it sells a large range of accessories such as watches, eyewear, caps and a large range of hygiene products, like deodorant, aftershave and shower gel. 

Profits rose by 6.5 per cent in the first three months of 2013 for the German company, hitting €308 million (£244 million). This was attributed to a greater number of individuals purchasing its more expensive products. 

While Adidas is probably best known for its 'Impossible is Nothing' marketing campaign - which is taken from a quote by Muhammad Ali - the current slogan is 'All In'. 

Only time will tell whether or not Adidas' current strategy will translate into sales - especially in light of its new sponsorship deal with Manchester United, which is set to begin next year. 


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