Adidas was founded by German native Adolf "Adi" Dassler, who made his first shoe in 1920. In 1925, he designed the first cleat prototype for soccer and track and field events. Since that time, the Adidas company has become world-renowned for its sports-related clothing items, which now include sneakers, shirts, gym bags and watches, just to name a few. The company's calling card is its three-stripe trademark that appears on all products.
Dutch athletes wore shoes made by Adi Dassler during the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the first time Olympic athletes wore them to compete. In 1932, German runner Arthur Jonath became the first Olympic competitor to win a medal while wearing Dassler shoes.
Businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus was named president of the company in 1993 and proceeded to implement new marketing campaigns that boosted sluggish sales. He's the cousin of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Seinfeld" fame. He died on July 4, 2009, at the age of 63.
With permission from the European Commission, Adidas acquired rival sportswear maker Reebok for an estimated $3.8 billion in early 2006. Combined, the two entities represented almost $12 billion in revenue at the time.
Hip hop group Run DMC recorded the song "My Adidas" for the album "Raising Hell," which was released in 1986. Sample lyrics include the line "Now the Adidas I possess for one man is rare, myself, homeboy, got 50 pair."
Famous Ad Pitches
Celebrities who have endorsed Adidas products in ads include tennis players Arthur Ashe and Anna Kournikova, soccer star David Beckham and basketball star Kobe Bryant.