SBJ/April 23 - 29, 2007/This Weeks News

Adidas expects big numbers from Beckham

Adidas executives project that soccer star David Beckham will contribute to 400 percent growth in the company’s MLS hard- and soft-goods sales this year and also help raise its bottom line for soccer goods across the country.

The Germany-based company will launch two new marketing campaigns and two new lines of Beckham apparel ahead of his MLS debut. The campaigns are designed to garner the interest of casual sports fans and reposition the international soccer star as an American sports icon, according to Chris McGuire, sports marketing director for Adidas soccer.

The primary campaign will be a modified version of the “Impossible Is Nothing” advertisement that has already launched in the U.K. That British version will be Americanized so that, for example, rather than referring to a goal scored against Greece, Beckham will call it the goal that put England into the World Cup.

The spots, created by the agency 180 Amsterdam, will begin appearing on ESPN/ABC across all programming in July, when Beckham is scheduled to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. The campaign also will appear in print and retail.

A second campaign will launch around the same time, pairing Beckham with a high-profile American athlete who’s part of the Adidas family, such as football player Reggie Bush or basketball player Gilbert Arenas. The campaign will be featured across online, print and TV.

McGuire declined to offer more details, saying, “It’s an exciting way to market him and bring him into the U.S. and not only grow his brand but also show the power of the Adidas brand in sport.”

Along with the campaigns, Adidas will launch a new line of Beckham’s signature apparel known as Icon. The line, similar to Nike and Michael Jordan’s Jumpman, is usually updated each November but was advanced to July this year. Adidas is introducing what it calls a Hero line of polos, T-shirts and sweat shirts with Beckham’s name and jersey number on the back. Such apparel has been available internationally in the past but never in the U.S.

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