Adidas Brand Collabs: How Adidas Grows Marketshare with Brand Partnerships

Collaboration is so much a part of the Adidas corporate culture that it is written on the wall at their Portland headquarters.  

As Dirk Schonberger, Global Creative Director of Adidas Sport Style,  states, “Adidas is a melting pot of different cultures. Collaborations really resonate and work well here.”

With a focus on creativity, Adidas is a leader in creating partnerships and collaborations outside traditional channels.

A Game Changer: Adidas Partners with Run-DMC

One of the first Adidas brand collabs, the partnership between Adidas and Run-DMC in the ‘80s was the first-ever partnership between a musical act and a sportswear company. Adidas not only sponsored Run-DMC but also created a clothing line featuring the group’s logo. With this partnership, Adidas reached a new demographic of consumers outside of athletics.

Adidas Rediscovers Success with Kayne West

From 2006 to 2015, Adidas’s sneaker market share fell from 8% to 2%. They had flooded the market with various musical partnerships without much differentiation. Without focus, a company loses cultural relevance, and Adidas was no longer considered cool.

In 2013, Adidas launched an exciting new shoe, the Boost. To promote it, they signed a collaboration deal with Kayne West after he became dissatisfied with Nike. With a new focus, Adidas saw its market share go from 6% in 2016 to 12% in 2017. The Yeezy Boost became the 9th highest-selling sneaker in the US.

Adidas Brand Collaborations in Fashion

Adidas has collaborated with various designers over the years – including Alexander Wang, Jeremy Scott, Raf Simmons, and Stella McCartney.

2003 marked the successful launch of the Y3 brand, a collaboration between Adidas and Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. The Y3 brand incorporated intricate design and classic style to target a new audience of high-end, fashion sports consumers.

The Y3 collaboration brought tremendous success for both firms by reaching an audience that neither could reach on their own. The Y3 success would also be the catalyst that brought Kayne West to Adidas from Nike in 2013.

Another successful collaboration in fashion, Adidas and Beyonce started their partnership in 2019. Beyonce was looking to relaunch her clothing line, Ivy Park. She felt that Adidas would be the perfect fit.  Before their first launch, Beyonce sent 20 friends and influencers massive gift boxes. They then shared them with their millions of followers on social media. At the launch, Adidas sold out within minutes. 

Health and Wellness Adidas Brand Partnerships

Taking advantage of the pandemic fitness boom, Adidas and Peloton introduced the SS21 apparel collection in March 2021. Peloton is a household name in advanced stationary bikes and treadmills. This collaboration positions both companies to capitalize on the continued growth in this market segment. Peloton increases brand awareness, while Adidas gains access to Peloton’s 4.4 million members.

Adidas Brand Collabs with Ninja

A world-class eGamer, Ninja has changed the perception of gaming by reaching an audience outside of the gaming subculture. In August 2019, Adidas and Ninja announced a partnership uniting sportswear and gaming.  

Originally launched in 1980 as the Nite Jogger, the ‘Time In’ Nite Jogger collaboration celebrates the hours spent by creators developing their skills.

By using brand collaborations, a company can relaunch an existing product to reach a new audience in ways that traditional marketing methods can’t. 

Adidas Co-Marketing with Ravi

In 2022, Adidas partnered with Ravi, a destination restaurant in Dubai for more than 40 years. This partnership is the first of eleven community-focused restaurants for Adidas in a new marketing series named “Adilicious.”  

The series will use footwear to tell each restaurant’s unique story. The Superstar Ravi comes in Ravi’s classic colors – white, off-white, and green—and features selected items from the menu printed inside each shoe.

Adidas Brand Partnerships for the Environment

First launched in 2015, Adidas Parley products are made using recycled plastic from the ocean. Parley for the Oceans turns recycled ocean plastic into thread, which is then woven into shoes and apparel. This brand partnership positions Adidas as pro-environment while raising awareness of Parley for the Oceans efforts.

In Summary: Collaboration Works

A company can talk about brand, but having a partnership that validates the message is critical.

The kind of growth that comes from this validation can’t be found in other forms of marketing. 

Although successful brand collaborations seem obvious in hindsight, they rarely are at inception. The key is to define your current and desired audience and reach out to players who share that audience.

A brand x brand collaboration aims to create something special that grabs the customer’s attention in a saturated marketplace. Both companies then realize success that neither could have achieved with their own efforts.