Did you know that the renowned American track and field star Jesse Owens once wore Adidas trainers during the Berlin Olympics in 1936? It was a moment that would not only make Owens’ name everlasting in the history of sports but also launch a brand that would define an extensive part of sports culture. Do you need proof? In 2003, the legendary football player David Beckham signed a remarkable lifetime contract of $160 million with Adidas, establishing himself as one of the most stylish brand ambassadors in sports history.
Adidas has come to be associated with athletic performance in the modern era. Adidas is currently the second-largest sportswear brand, with a market valuation of 29.56 billion euros.
The brand is particularly unique not just because of its famous historical context but also because of its impressive promotional strategies and distribution network. Adidas has an extensive distribution network, with its items in over 160 countries and 2,500 retail locations.
However, its widespread availability leaves it vulnerable to counterfeiters looking to capitalize on the brand’s appeal.
When it comes to marketing, Adidas has an eye for staying ahead of the competition. They’ve got their marketing game on lock, from collaborating with the trendiest celebrities to sponsoring major athletic events. Its ‘Impossible is Nothing’ campaign featured famous advertising featuring Muhammad Ali, highlighting the spirit of striving for greatness.
However, the road to prosperity has not been without difficulties. Since the brand’s inception, counterfeit products have plagued it, posing a threat. In 2018, the German company estimated that up to 10% of Adidas-branded products sold in Asia could be counterfeit. This includes both in-store and online purchases. Not only can counterfeit goods tarnish the companies they copy, but they also frequently result in subpar items that endanger consumers.
This blog will delve into Adidas’ journey and battles with counterfeit goods.
The ineffectiveness of Holographic labels and color-changing labels
Adidas has used holographic labels, color-changing logos, and other security elements to distinguish authentic products from counterfeits. However, the effectiveness of these early anti-counterfeit techniques was limited.
As a result, Adidas faced a severe counterfeit problem in the coming years with just these anti-counterfeit solutions like its counterparts. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), counterfeit products accounted for 3.3% of global trade in 2016, amounting to a market worth almost $500 billion.
Counterfeiters quickly adapted, duplicating these security features and enhancing the quality of their counterfeit products, making it increasingly difficult for buyers to distinguish between genuine and fake goods.
This underscored the necessity for Adidas to rethink its anti-counterfeit measures and investigate more effective alternatives.
Consumer Education as a weapon
In 2018, Adidas started the “Fake Hurts Real” campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of counterfeit products and encourage people to buy original Adidas products. The campaign also emphasized the need not to pursue brands and to avoid wearing counterfeit or replica goods that could physically harm consumers.
The brand has taken this proactive approach to teaching consumers how to identify counterfeit goods. They provide comprehensive guidelines on their official website, including tips to distinguish genuine products from knockoffs. Social media initiatives and collaborations with influencers have also helped to raise awareness.
In the following blog, we shall explore the lawsuit battles and other actions taken by Adidas to tackle this problem. Stay tuned until then.