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Sportswear-makers: The adidas method

August 23, 2013 at 3:05 am | News Desk

A Stella success

TEN years ago sportswear-makers were cramming ever more features and futuristic designs into their products. They were convinced that the consumer bought, say, training shoes based on their technical specifications. But in 2004 James Carnes, today adidas’s creative director for sportswear, and a Danish consultant named Mikkel Rasmussen met at a conference in Oslo at which Mr Rasmussen challenged this notion. A mobile phone, he said, may have 72 functions, but that is 50 more than most people wanted, or used.

Mr Carnes was intrigued, and so began an almost decade-long engagement for ReD, the small consultancy Mr Rasmussen co-founded in Copenhagen. In that decade adidas’s sales and share price have grown steadily, alongside those of Nike, an American firm that is the global leader in sportswear (see chart). It remains far ahead of Puma, its crosstown rival. The two German firms, based in Herzogenaurach in…

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The Economist: Business

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