Adidas vs Puma – The Family Argument That Gave Rise to Sports Marketing

Legend has it that at times the rivalry between the two companies was so great that

Puma and Adidas were reminiscent of rival gangs, the two companies had their production sites in the same town

divided by a river. If you worked for one company, you would not dare to go to the other side of the river

Each side had its own bakery its own bars its own sports clubs the family argument divided an entire town

From making shoes in the laundry room to global power in sports

This is the story of a rivalry between two brothers who pioneered sports marketing with their relentless drive to be the best

The turbulent story of the family of entrepreneurs

Stats in the small german town of hetsig and olga with just above 20,000 inhabitants

Which is nevertheless a legendary place in the world of sports

it was here that the Destler brothers a dwarf and Rudolph founded and

successfully ran a shoe shop together in the early 1920s

Until they fell out and split their company into two separate enterprises

They moved to different banks of the river alpha

From then on the family feud was played out on the cobblestones of the small town near Nuremberg on

Basketball and football pitches and at the Olympics before the family feud really began Adi and Rudolph worked side by side

Which went quite smoothly?

the beginnings of Adidas and Puma happens in the aftermath of World War one when the Allies

imposed harsh economic sanctions on the war loser Germany and the country slid into an economic crisis

High unemployment and massive inflation were the consequences

When the Tesla brothers returned from the war their mother’s laundry Stood Still

The trained baker Adi Dassler then began making shoes in the laundry rooms out of pure necessity

Times were hot and Adi had to be inventive when choosing materials

But even if people have no money and were not prepared to pay for clean clothes, they still needed health issues

And so it happened that after only three years at his company had grown so much that he brought his brother Rudolf on board

he was to take care of the business while Adi continued with the production a

Company name was also quickly found the blue. Dad that shoe fabric

Asla brothers shoe factory their patented running and football shoes were soon very popular among athletes


1932 Adi falls in love with Katy the 16 year old daughter of an enterpreneur

They married and soon Adi and Rudolph’s brother. Laugh is starting to crack

Rudolph wasn’t happy with her as so the woman by his brother’s side the relationship with my brother was flawless between 1924 and

1933 Rudolf Dassler recalls as an older man then his young wife wanted to get involved in business matters

Although at 16 years old. She had no experience at all

You can read about it in barbara. Smith’s excellent book sneaker Wars and

So the war began said rudolf dassler

Today, we know that cata would later become the CEO of the world’s biggest sports goods manufacturer at the time

The Olympics in Berlin 1936 the Nazi Games

Under the rule of Hitler the dazzla brothers business is going smooth

Hitler promotes athleticism and physical exercise which served the company’s goal

The brothers arranged themselves with the regime and become members in the Nazi Party like many Germans to be able to continue their business endeavors

An American sprinter Jesse Owens is said to be the runaway favorite for several events

Adi Dassler and his friend Joe Weiser

The coach of the German team decided that they would offer their specially designed running Footwear to as many contestants as possible

including Jesse Owens

They were aware of the danger of an african-american contestant wearing German shoes

African Americans were targets of Hitler’s vile ideology and Adidas would easily become a target of severe repercussions from the Nazi government

Still Adi and fights are disregarded the risk and approached Owens at the Olympic Village to offer him the special shoes that were designed

And crafted by Adi himself Owens was amazed by the shoes, which had long hand forged spikes and were made of resilient leather

He said that he would either wear these shoes or no shoes while competing

The fastest man in the world ran in Adidas shoes a real coup by the brothers and the marketing strategy that was unheard of before

Owens wins gold in the prestigious 100 meters and three other disciplines

He becomes an Olympic stuff an ideal advertising character

After the Second World War the message of the fastest man

Alive wearing Adidas shoes took full effect and gave the company an immense boost

During the war Rudi gets drafted into the Valmet at the time

The company was forced by law to make products essential to the war and no longer sports shoes

After Rudy’s returned from the war to their destroyed home town the fight between the brothers escalates

Rudi was convinced that his brother had denounced him as a Nazi to the Americans in order to have him arrested to

Effectively kick him out of the company if he had that Ari and his wife had conspired

Against him to take ownership of the company, which they had steered through the war time

Not only antipathy even hatred defined the relationship from then on as a result in

1948 the family internal fights cost the brothers to part ways and split the entire family

Out of the Buddha dust eschew fabric. Adi with wife cantor founds adidas his brother Rudy Puma. They

Moved to different sides of the river banks and gave employees the choice whom they want to work for

This marks the birth of two global brands and the start of a bitter fight for the dominance of the global sport market

soon after Adi Dassler lands a big deal giving him the nickname the shoe maker of the nation an

inferior German football team surprisingly wins the first World Cup in Bern, Switzerland

all dressed in Adidas shoes

The three stripes became a worldwide phenomenon ever since adidas maintains a close relationship

especially with Germany’s national football team

Uwe Seeler, a German football legend recalls when you visited Adidas you were at home in

Many cases there were business relations with Adidas because it felt informal not exaggerated but Pleasant and kind

Everyone likes that the close customer relationships pay off

Adidas has seen swindling growth in the two decades since their founding with 800 employees

More than 1 million pairs of sold shoes made added as more than 10 million euros in today’s currency

Until the end of the 60s adidas was the leading sports goods manufacturer not only in Germany, but worldwide

Competition wasn’t anywhere in sight except on the other side of the river

Puma was now the only serious competitor on the world market the two companies continued to monitor each other closely

Both worried about corporate espionage with unsolved cases of bucked telephones which fired up the atmosphere of mutual

distrust and suspicion

The Olympic Games in Mexico City marked the end of an eventful

A new era in the sports world begins which completely unhinged the basic business principles

Of the sports industry at the time athletes were amateurs with no professional management and no sponsoring contracts, Puma and Adidas

Representatives showed up armed to the teeth with suitcases full of cash

They didn’t only give away shoes for free anymore. But illegally convinced athletes with cash of more than $10,000

this became the new norm and marked the beginning of a new chapter in sports marketing a

Chapter of steep financial growth of sports goods manufacturers and innovative products, which was nonetheless

overshadowed by unhinged capitalism and growing corruption

Today had sobinova is still home to Adidas and Puma

Even though adidas only generates about 5% of their turnover in Germany

The global company has stayed true to their roots and build their headquarters the world of sports

They’re attracting talent from all over the world

but the two brothers

Haven’t managed to live in harmony and the rivalry was inherited to their sons or to continued levels when Puma founder Rudi – LA died

In 1974 Adi didn’t attend his brother’s funeral

Now that you know how everything started what do you think distinguishes the two brands today?

Would you sell your brother for a shoe company and most importantly which name is worse?

Adolf or Rudolf? Let us know in the comments below

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