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Marketing Strategies between Adidas & Nike

Table of Contents

Overview of the Industry

There is an intense competition that business in Sports industry is facing. The companies and marketers nowadays have to be stylish and functional at the same time to survive in the competition. Within the sports industry, Adidas and Nike are two prominent names across the world countries. Adidas and Nike are the most significant brand names in the minds of customers.

Nike brand notifies to “just do it”, while Adidas tells you “impossible is nothing”. One caters for swoosh addicts, while the other caters to stripe enthusiasts.

Comparison of Markets

Nike’s product majorly inclines towards industries of Children and Women shoes, Running, Cross-training and Basketball. On the other hand, Adidas primarily deals in Athletics, Tennis, and Soccer.

Comparison of Strategies

Adidas and Nike operate and use same platform for marketing strategies with different approaches of implementation. Both organizations focus greatly on technology, as well as make efforts to innovate and produce new products.

  1. Focus of Strategies
  2. Nike concentrates on the market of United States, while on the other hand, Adidas focuses on the market of Europe.

  3. Production Strategies
  4. When it comes to production, Nike does not own production plants as they merely advertises, distributes and designs their goods but outsources from severe Asian countries, such as Korea and Taiwan that outsources their production plants in Vietnam, Indonesia, and China. On the other hand, Adidas has production plant in Germany where they adopted the outsourcing approach of Nike by outsourcing to countries in Asia.

  5. Marketing Strategies
  6. Adidas and Nike follow a strategy of premium pricing that refers to an approach where businesses charge higher price for their goods. Nike and Adidas faced an intense competition.

For example, during the World Cup 2010:

  • “Write the future” campaign was launched by Nike, which was a 3-minutes advertisement in which celebrities were featured, and received overwhelming response from customers on YouTube.
  • On the other hand, Adidas answered back with 2-minutes video that featured stars such as Daft Punk and Snoop Dogg into a prominent shot from the Star Wars movie.
  • There are around nine teams sponsored by Nike while twelve teams sponsored by Adidas.

Key Differences in Marketing Strategies

  • Nike has a domestic market focus, while Adidas has an international market focus.
  • To gain the global recognition, Nike shifted focus to soccer, while Adidas rules the global market, mainly the soccer that is defined as the “world sports.”
  • Nike offers customization to gain competitive advantage. In contrast, Adidas tries to cut production costs and time to be more successful and sustain in the competition/market.
  • Nike employs abroad production factories to reduce costs of production and Adidas offers low salary to reduce costs of production.
  • Nike improved its e-sites with custom options of footwear; whereas, Adidas increases its’ advertising and marketing budgets. Short videos are advertised on youtube to attract the attention of the consumers and promote the technology used for manufacturing.
  • Nike has led the sportswear in marketing and advertising strategies. However, Adidas has made an attempted to expand its market to sports apparel and equipment.

Moreover, like most global brands Nike also has separate Facebook pages for each of its product in categories manner. Most of the dedicated sports pages are updated on a daily basis with videos or images, while the corporate page is updated almost once a week. On the other hand, Adidas is all about creating hype on social media- Adidas Originals now has more followers on Twitter than the main Adidas account which is now cementing its position as a truly cult lifestyle brand.

Nike has global football page featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta, as well as a lot of product-related posts. Since the brand famously snatched Kanye West from Nike in 2014, it has carefully crafted a series of product launches, cleverly building on the rapper’s wider fan base.

Not only does Nike do a decent job of marketing itself using the four main social networks, but it has also taken the time to establish its own unique social platform through Nike+.


Thus, Adidas and Nike have different marketing strategies in how both companies interactive with consumers online. The above discussion made it apparent that a strategy of Nike revolves around creating a unique and distinct identity for each sport is effective and smart. However, both Adidas and Nike have a significant digital presence and impressive viral marketing strategies.

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