SBD/February 16, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Adidas' Patrik Nilsson Aims To Grow The Brand In North America

Nilsson says adidas will continue
to focus on young consumers
adidas is "expected to introduce a major global marketing campaign in March," and "assisting in that effort" is Patrik Nilsson, the brand's North American President, according to Allan Brettman of the Portland OREGONIAN. Upon joining adidas in '07, Nilsson "began the task of tilting at Nike." In a recent interview, the Sweden native "emphasized his company's commitment to Portland, his history with adidas, and his company's plan to catch Nike." The following is a portion of the Q&A:

Q: Last November, adidas announced "Route 2015," a plan for growing the adidas Group business by 45 percent to 50 percent to $23 billion by 2015 -- essentially matching or exceeding Nike. How will adidas America contribute to matching this goal?
Nilsson: The focus of our plan is a laser focus on the younger consumer. We of course have always gone after the younger consumer. The epicenter of our target is between 14 and 19. There are 7 million high school athletes that are engaged in at least one of the sports in the U.S. marketplace. I mean, that is the population of Sweden. That's a huge opportunity.

Q: Does it ever get to be annoying to you to always be second to Nike?
Nilsson: No, I don't think so. We don't focus on any competitors in great detail. We need to do what we need to do. We focus on our brand core, where the consumer can enter our brand from many different doors. That is a big opportunity.

Q: In October, adidas America announced it was putting its headquarters on North Greeley Avenue for sale with plans to lease back the space from the buyer. Do you have a buyer? Does the company plan to stay in Portland?
Nilsson: We do not have a buyer that I know of, but a large national real estate firm is handling this. ... What I can tell you is that we are totally committed to Portland. We have stated that numerous times (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/12).
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