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Nike vs. Adidas Marketing Strategy

Nike vs. Adidas- Which Marketing Strategy is More Successful?

by Maya

It’s no secret that Nike and Adidas are two of the biggest rivals in the sporting goods market. But while they have similar product lines, their strategies are vastly different. We’ll break down some key ways that Nike vs. Adidas differ when it comes to marketing strategy.

This blog post will look at what makes Nike and Adidas unique and how their strategies have evolved. 

We’ll also explore which one is better positioned to capitalize on current trends and emerging opportunities. By understanding the differences between these two giants in the sporting goods industry, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which brand is right for you.

Companies like Nike and Adidas are in the business of marketing. It’s what they do to make money and what they’re good at. 

However, there are differences between their approaches that affect the way each company is perceived. 

These differences can range from the types of products each company produces or distributes to how they approach individual consumers—and even how they market their brands as a whole. 

History of Nike and Adidas

Nike and Adidas currently dominate the sports apparel market. These companies have been battling it out for market share for years, and their strategies have evolved. 

Nike started its way in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports. It wasn’t until 1971 that the company officially became Nike – The Greek goddess of victory. The company’s first big break came in 1972 when it signed a contract with Steve Prefontaine, an up-and-coming distance runner. This helped Nike gain exposure in the running community, and it soon became the go-to brand for runners. In 1978, Nike introduced its now-famous “swoosh” logo, and in 1979, it released its first line of Air Jordan shoes. The Air Jordan line would become one of Nike’s most successful products, helping to solidify Nike’s position as a leader in the sports footwear market.

Adidas was founded in 1949 by Adolf “Adi” Dassler. Like Nike, Adidas started as a producer of athletic shoes. The company’s big break came in 1954 when it signed a contract with the West German national soccer team to provide them with uniforms and shoes for the World Cup. This gave Adidas a high profile within the world of soccer, and it soon became one of the most popular brands.

The current state of the market

The current state of the market is that Nike is the clear leader in both brand value and market share. Adidas is a distant second, followed by several other brands. 

Nike’s success is due to many factors, including its strong focus on innovation, effective marketing campaigns, and aggressive expansion strategy. Adidas has been trying to close the gap with Nike in recent years but has so far been unsuccessful.

Each company’s strengths and weaknesses


  • Nike’s main strengths are its brand recognition, global presence, and marketing strategy.
  • Nike’s main weaknesses are its dependence on other companies for manufacturing and design and its over-reliance on many vital athletes.


  • Adidas’ main strengths are its innovative products, sustainability focus, and robust e-commerce presence. 
  • Adidas’ main weaknesses are its limited U.S. presence and the fact that it is not as well known as Nike globally.

Nike’s marketing strategy

Nike has always been a brand that focuses on innovation and creativity. Their marketing strategy is based on inspiring their customers to be their best selves. Nike believes that if they can get people to believe in themselves, they will be more likely to purchase their products. Nike’s marketing strategy has always been about motivating and inspiring people.

In the past, Nike has used celebrity endorsements to market their products. However, in recent years they have shifted away from this approach and instead focus on creating inspirational ads that tell stories and connect with their customers emotionally. Nike knows their highly diverse customer base, so they create content that will resonate with as many people as possible.

While Nike’s marketing strategy may seem simple, it is very complex and takes much hard work to execute successfully. But Nike’s primary goal is to get people to believe in themselves and continue pushing boundaries – both in terms of their personal goals and what they think is possible.

Nike has a more robust marketing budget.

Nike has a larger marketing budget than Adidas.

According to Market Watch, Nike spent $1.2 billion on advertising in 2016, almost double what Adidas spent ($650 million). This means that if you combine their budgets and compare them to one another, it’s clear that Nike spends more on marketing than any other shoe company today—and they’ve been doing it for years! They have consistently outspent every other brand on this list by a wide margin since 2006 (the first year we looked at).

Adidas’s marketing strategy

Adidas’ marketing strategy is to target athletes and those who are passionate about sports. The company sponsors major sporting events and teams worldwide, and its products are worn by some of the most famous athletes in the world. Adidas also has a strong presence on social media, where it often interacts with fans and promotes its latest products.

Adidas avoids putting all its eggs in one basket.

Adidas has a wide variety of products, sports, and marketing strategies. As a result, they’re fearless in trying new things. This is evident in their recent partnership with rapper Kanye West. While many people thought this was an odd pairing at first, it has turned out to be one of Adidas’ most successful partnerships because it allowed them to reach an entirely new audience that they wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.

Adidas also has many different athletes on their team, including Lionel Messi (football), David Beckham (soccer), James Harden (basketball), and Paul Pogba (soccer). These partnerships allow for cross-promotion between these athletes’ social media accounts, making them more recognizable than if each athlete had a separate campaign without any overlap.

Adidas is slightly more serious than Nike, which loves an edgy or controversial ad campaign.

Adidas is slightly more serious than Nike, which loves an edgy or controversial ad campaign.

Nike has been more direct with their messaging, especially regarding social issues and politics. For example, their recent ad campaign featured Colin Kaepernick as one of the faces of their 30th anniversary “Just do it” campaign. The former NFL quarterback was known for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against police brutality against African Americans in America. The ad sparked controversy and received mixed reactions from consumers worldwide but ultimately helped increase sales by 23%.

Nike has been consistently direct, whereas Adidas has tried all kinds of approaches, from rap to soccer, with mixed results.

Adidas has been more experimental, and Nike has been more direct. In the beginning, Adidas was all about soccer. They had some excellent ads that showed people playing soccer in their shoes but nothing too out of the ordinary. Then they started doing things like this:

Then there was this:

And finally, this:

These are great ads, but none of them stuck out as anything unique or memorable enough to stand out from each other or from Nike’s commercials which have always been pretty straightforward with their messaging (like this one).

Nike and Adidas each have their unique marketing strategy.

Nike and Adidas each have their unique strategies. Nike is more direct, while Adidas is more subtle. Nike is edgy, while Adidas is serious. Nike focuses on athletes, while Adidas focuses on soccer. Nike has a bigger marketing budget than Adidas does

Nike vs. Adidas- Which Marketing Strategy is More Successful?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on various factors, including each company’s overall strategy, target markets, and product offerings. However, Nike is generally considered more successful than Adidas due in part to its stronger brand identity and a broader range of products. Nike also has a history of innovation and has effectively adapted its business model to changes in the marketplace.


In conclusion, Nike and Adidas have distinct strategies for marketing and advertising their products. While Nike focuses on product innovation and celebrity endorsements, Adidas uses digital and traditional media channels to reach its target customers. Both companies are successful, but the key to success lies in using their resources wisely to stay ahead of the competition.

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