German Kit Campaign Sees N1 Adidas Meet World Cup Goal

With one of the richest histories in international football, big shirt sales for its home team German kit have played a major role in adidas announced this week that it would achieve its 2014 soccer sales goal of €2bn+ ($2.7 bn+) and beat Nike’s challenge to remain the world’s number one football brand


In this crucial World Cup year, adidas reported sales of German kits have topped two million – a rise of 30% from the company’s previous highest single year sales which were back in 2006.


Indeed, it seems the German team is starting to become something of a global brand as more than 500,000 shirts have been sold outside Europe (compared to 300,000 at the last World Cup in 2010).


In Germany the national side’s strip was unveiled by adidas with a campaign that kicked off back in November 2013 under the tagline ‘Unsere Farben / Oder Keine’ (Our Colours Or Nothing)’.


This began with a launch event fronted by Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler and with promotional images shot by photographer Jason Gould on location at the Allianz Arena Munich.


This was followed by a marketing push led by a spot featuring both players and others stars of the national side.



This was further supported by an integrated push spanning press, outdoor, online and in-store push.


The new light home kit, made from adizero material, consists of the traditional white shirt and introduces white shorts and socks with a striking new chest graphic made of different red strands which interpret the German flag.


Three stars on the chest symbolise the World Cup successes in 1954, 1974 and 1990, while additional silver design elements include the new DFB logo and an in-collar slogan


This new kit was first worn on 15 November when Germany played a friendly against Italy in Milan.


Further insights into the adidas marketing strategy around the German national team come in the form of a behind-the-scenes online look at its activation around the national squad fronted by adidas’ ‘Sports Marketing Assets Manager’ for the German National Team Christian Staatz.


Staatz, who acts as the liaison between the company and the national side and its players, offers unique perspective on the campaign as he worked alongside national team stars like Thomas Müller and Julian Draxler to promote the shirt and the team.



Statz, the DFB asset manager, is one of many as adidas has a team asset manager for every partner organisation or club.


This role ranges from marketing, to dealing with personal product supply and modifications.


Statz online video is part of an ongoing, wider series of behind-the-scenes clips exploring adidas employee roles around the World Cup.


For example, another online adidas marketing insider view came in the form of following Melanie Steiner, of the adidas global sports marketing football department, who is the on-site point of contact for the FIFA and the Local Organization Committee



While Germany has been a core market for the global adidas ‘All In Or Nothing’ World Cup marketing campaign and the international creative has aired across the country, it has also seen several market-specific versions and strands within the umbrella campaign.


For example, back in April the umbrella ‘Brazuca World Cup Ball Tour’ campaign (see campaign case study) went to Germany on a leg of its pre-tournament, first person tour to learn ‘about the spirit and the love of this beautiful game’,



Then, in May, further specific German strands within adidas international campaign work, included Lucas Podolski leading the German strand of the ‘Cow Heart’ campaign (which used the tagline ‘During the World Cup, I will give my heart to the cause’), while fellow nation team stars Schweinsteiger, Muller, Neuer and Ozil all fronted German versions of the umbrella ‘Battle Pack’ campaign (see case study),  with unified and individual spots,



and even a local German market ‘handover’ spot,





Nike may have overtaken adidas in many other sports categories, but football seems to be one space where the official FIFA partner still tops the table.


Nike’s mammoth ‘Risk Everything’ campaign, combined with its sponsorship of 10 World Cup teams, as well as two of the tournament’s biggest stars in Ronaldo and Neymar, formed an aggressive campaign aimed at toppling adidas’ top of the league status.


Nike hoped this strategy would exceed its 2013 $1.9bn soccer sales (out of its total sales of $25bn) and rocket it to the top spot.


But the German giant has announced it believes it will keep its number one football status ahead of last week’s latest fiscal year results.


‘The brand’s presence on the field of play and all around the tournament in Brazil as well as the success of our marketing campaign in social media worldwide is clear proof that Adidas is and will remain the leading football brand,’ announced Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer at a media event on Tuesday 24 June (a week into the World Cup).


Adidas’s current success with the German national side partly reflects its long established relationship with its home country’s national team.


Adidas first sponsored Germany in 1954 and its contract runs up until at least 2018.


(In the 1970s, Germany wore Erima kits (Erima is a German subsidiary of Adidas).


In addition to its home nation shirt, the other top selling adidas national side jerseys at this World Cup include Argentina, Mexico and Colombia – each boasting sales of more than one million shirts.


In total, adidas has announced that it expects to sell in excess of eight million jerseys in 2014 (compared to 6.5 million in 2010).


Adidas is the official sponsor and supplier of the World Cup and has nine teams and roughly 300 players competing in Brazil in Adidas gear. Last year it extended its agreement with FIFA to 2030.


Furthermore, the company has said it is on course to sell 14 million Brazuca official World Cup footballs (compared to the 13 million Jabulanis it shifted in the 2010 tournament).




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