ADIDAS WHITTLES AWAY AT U.S. MARKETS; EYES WALL STREET
adidas and company Chair Robert Louis-Dreyfus are
profiled by John Tagliabue in the business section of the
N.Y. TIMES, under the piece on Nike's decreasing third
quarter earnings. Tagliabue writes that Louis-Dreyfus "has
turned things around" at adidas, pouring "large sums into
creating a cooler image for Adidas with young people tired
of Nike's in-your-face style." Louis-Dreyfus: "We're going
in the right direction." But Nike GM Central Europe Stefano
Caroti said that adidas "is building its recent success by
using Nike's winning formulas." Caroti: "They're copying
us, from our ads to our products. You put a swoosh at the
end of their commercials, they're ours." Louis-Dreyfus said
adidas "is less centralized than Nike," and "less dependent
on American superstars." Louis-Dreyfus, on Nike's Phil
Knight: "He's the Disney of sports, into the marketing of
sports at the entertainment end. We try to be more
cosmopolitan" (John Tagliabue, N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).
WHAT'S AHEAD: While adidas has "gained ground in more
popular sports" in the U.S. by signing "big-name athletes,"
Louis-Dreyfus said his "top priority" is to "accelerate
growth in the [U.S.] by continuing to whittle away at the
market shares of Reebok and Fila." adidas also plans an IPO
on Wall Street "as early as next year" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).