Adidas V Puma, the Old Enemies

Football Boots - PumaThe World Cup is perhaps the biggest media event in the world. With 28 million people watching the last World Cup and more forecast this time (32 million), its not surprising that the big sportswear companies have already begun warming up for the big tournament.

I recently wrote about Nike and Adidas going head to head, but it turns out there is another battle taking place, one which has been running since the 1920’s.

Adidas V Puma

These two German companies have been fighting a battle long before Nike came along. In fact they were both founded by the same family – the Dassler family.

Rudolf Dassler the Puma founder and Adolf the Adidas founder went their separate ways in 1948, when they set up their two businesses after jointly running Dassler OHG. The battle commenced.

Pele at the 1970 World Cup, just before the whistle was blown to start a game, asked the referee to hold on while he tied his Puma football boots. The TV viewers got a nice close up of his football boots.

Mark Spitz, the American swimmer, was approached at the 1072 Olympics by Adidas. Adidas asked Spitz to wear Adidas at the medal ceremony, but because his shoes would not be seen under his trousers, he held the shoes in his hand and waved them at the crowd.

In 1954, the German national team won the Football World Cup for the first time, wearing Adidas shoes with revolutionary screw in studs. Puma claimed they invented the screw in stud!

In this World Cup year, the local battle has been hotting up. Puma have 12 teams wearing their shirts at the World Cup Adidas with just half that sum with 6.



Puma

Angola
Czech Republic
Ghana
Italy
Ivory Coast
Iran
Paraguay
Poland
Saudi Arabia
Switzerland
Togo
Tunisia

Adidas

Argentina
France
Germany
Japan
Spain
Trinidad and Tobago

Puma are clearly banking on the African teams, most likely because the next World Cup is staged in Africa – good thinking Puma. They also plan to open shops in towns where its teams are playing and have enlisted Brazilian soccer great Pele, who once wore Puma football boots.

Adidas, the leaders in the football apparel market, are said to be spending 200 million dollars on marketing, they are official World Cup sponsors and will be supplying all match balls and officials garments too.

So will Puma turn the Nike V Adidas into a three way battle – I don’t think so, but maybe at the next World Cup in Africa.



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7 Comments

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  • The Adidas vs Puma situation is fascinating. There’s a rather nice piece on it within the book on German football called “Tor!”, by Ulrich Hesse-Lichtenberger. Here’s a snippet:

    “Over 30 years later [after 1948] the son of a watchman became a professional footballer. During a career that spanned three decades, the boy by the name of Lothar Matthaus would only wear Adolf’s shoes when there was absolutely no way around it.”

  • Hey, this post was interesting. In fact I recently read about Adidas and it’s history from a book, “Brand Royalty” by Matt Haig. So, I searched the internet for Adidas and got a link to your blog. Companies and their rivalries have always been interesting stories, especially if the founders belong to the same family!

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