This relationship with a sponsored college is similar to Nike’s relationship with the Oregon Ducks. Except it isn’t quite explained in such a way. Nike’s deal with Oregon includes a bevy of investments and support based on Phil Knight’s attachment to the college. There are endowments and buildings and of course footwear and apparel that is created for the school. What adidas is doing here is different.
adidas doesn’t have a college connection that is based on a historical relationship. The company is based in Germany and there aren’t any notable alums who own or are affiliated with an American college in an in depth manner. Their primary endorser, James Harden, is a former Arizona State Sun Devil and this immersive sponsorship is a natural fit for adidas and could change the way footwear companies interact with colleges.
By integrating into academia with studies on athletic well being and sustainability issues adidas is showing that a sponsorship isn’t just about putting the shoes on the kids and hoping to sell gear. adidas is continuing to build an organic marketing system that reaches athletes and non-athletes on a level that shows they actually care about what’s important to those who would possibly wear the footwear and apparel.
“adidas and ASU see the world as a place to be disrupted,” said adidas North America President Mark King. “When you combine the world-class resources of ASU with the global power of adidas, extraordinary things can happen. We’re coming together to test the boundaries of the universe and make quantum leaps in what our future looks like. We’re looking at the world through the lens of sport and exploring things like diversity, sustainability and human potential. Sport is so much bigger than the game. We believe through sport, we have the power to change lives. adidas and ASU have a shared passion for innovation and creativity, for leading change and finding what’s next. With the Global Sport Alliance, we’re on a quest to explore the unknown. We want the whole world to benefit from what we discover.”
adidas understands something that it appears no other footwear company seems to understand. I have to acknowledge that I’ve been wrong about the growth that adidas has generated. They aren’t going to crash back to reality. They have implemented a perfect blend of creativity, marketing and social interest that is required in today’s digital society.