SBD/Issue 217/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Garnett's Pact Shows Nice Guys Finish First With adidas

As first reported in yesterday's issue of THE DAILY, adidas-Salomon has signed T'Wolves F Kevin Garnett to a $45M lifetime endorsement contract, giving the company "a trio of 'nice guys' at a time when [adidas] needs a boost in the U.S. sneaker market," according to Maureen Tkacik of the WALL STREET JOURNAL, who notes Garnett, Magic G Tracy McGrady and Spurs C Tim Duncan all "have reputations untarnished by legal woes." Tkacik: "If that makes adidas's triumvirate a bit boring in a summer consumed by charges against [Nike's Kobe Bryant], that's just fine with [adidas]." adidas Dir of Sports Marketing Kevin Wulff said that endorsement deals "are meant to convey adidas's status as a 'performance' brand." Wulff: "Ultimately, we want adidas to mean basketball to the real baller." Tkacik notes that adidas "is spending big on basketball this year partially in hopes of reversing its fortunes" in the U.S. market. Sales and orders have fallen over the past year as adidas' shell-toed "Superstar" sneaker has "faded in popularity" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/5).

WEST IS NOT BEST: adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said today that "he expected further weakness in the U.S." Hainer: "I don't think that we have touched the bottom of the trough yet." Hainer added that Japan "could emerge as the second-biggest market" for the company, next to the U.S., in the next two to three years and that China "was currently [its] fastest growing market." adidas will release Q2 '03 results tomorrow (REUTERS, 8/5).

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