Adidas, Puma, and Pelé Pact

In today’s time, advertising has surrounded almost every aspect of our life. Wherever we go, wherever we turn, there is some advertisement trying to sell us some brand or product. The world of sports is one of those that have made the most use of it. It is common to see big sporting giants doing lavish promotions and getting paid big bucks for it. We usually see Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi wearing a certain brand of shoes and signing million-dollar contracts for the use of their image.

In the world of football, in particular, there are two companies that have almost a monopoly on the sports spectrum across the globe, namely Nike and Adidas; While other companies like Puma, Umbro, Kappa, or Joma follow a lower level of cadence. However, the world was not always like this. There was a time when marketing was an uncharted territory within football where Adidas and Puma cornered the global sports market. Two sister companies with the same beginnings, a no-quarter war that lasted decades and led to the greatest advertising strategy in sports history.

How Adidas and Puma Start

In Germany, in the early 1920s, the brothers Adolf “Adi” Dassler and Rudolf “Rudi” Dassler formed the company “Gebruder Dassler Schopfabrik”. They used to make slippers and sports shoes. Adi was the introverted artist and Rudy was the public relations manager. Both managed to place their products on the German track and field team. But the masterstroke was to sign Jesse Owens, an athlete who played in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Everything was going well for the Dassler brothers at that time, their company was growing and prospering.

See also  Volkswagen Success Story | Volkswagen cars and Hitler Connections | People's Car

However, war came and everything changed. During World War II the Dassler factory, like many others, was transformed to become a supplier to the Nazi unified armed forces. Rudolf enlists with the Nazi army, while Adi manages to dodge it and stay in the factory. Once the war ended and thanks to American trade, the business prospered due to the great devotion felt by Americans for the sport. However, Rudolf was summoned to announce his ties to the Nazi Party, which forced him to be imprisoned for a year and live with his family. Rudolph is convinced that his brother has betrayed him. This marked the breaking point between the two brothers and began a story of hatred between the two.

Rudolf Dassler founded his own company in 1948, which he called “Puma”; Already in complete control of the company, Adi Dassler changed the name to “Adidas” in 1949. Rudolph took half the workers (merchants) and Adi stayed with the other half (artists). From there the war between the two brands began without a quarter.

“Pelé Pact”

We are on the eve of the 1970 World Cup and after years of feuding, dirty drama, and low blowouts, the two brands have reached an agreement: no one will try to sign Pele, the star of the moment. This decision was taken because they recognized that requesting Pelé’s image would be a marketing error, as it would increase the cost of similar contracts with many other players.

This agreement was known as the “Pele Pact”. “O’ Ree”, completely unaware of this agreement, came to the World Cup without either of the two brands as official suppliers of shoes, forcing them to switch to the smaller English brand Stylo. The temptation for Rudolph to acquire Pele’s advertising services was irresistible. He secretly sent his son Armin and wife to negotiate with Pele, along with Puma representative Hans Henningsen. He offered $25,000 for the rest of the World Cup and $100,000 for the next four years and a significant commission on sales of new Pele-branded shoes.

See also  Popstar Rihanna Success Story | Net Worth | Rihanna's Beauty Company | How Rihanna Became Billionaire

Henningsen, knowing that Pele’s figure would continue to rise during the World Cup, devised a strategy that could not fail. After signing the agreement with Pelé, it had a built-in clause that required Pelé’s participation. Convinced that Brazil would be the main protagonist of the World Cup, he asked Pelé to referee the game before its debut in Mexico. Reason? tearing her breasts. At that time, in the first World Cup that was broadcast in color, all television cameras focused on the figure “O Re”. And as Pele bent down to tie his shoes, the world shuddered. Cameras focused as the Brazilian Crunch calmly tied the laces of some brand-new soccer boots that bore the brand name Puma. the rest is history.

“Puma King Pele” increased its sales by 300% and became one of the most brilliant moves in the world of sports marketing. Puma has dealt a historic blow to its arch-rival Adidas. This action by Puma not only furthered their eternal feud with Adidas, it also marked a before and after in the history of sports marketing.

Today we have a plethora of sports brands that dress and fit the best teams and players in the world. Gone are the days of the stark black shoe, replaced by an endless number of colors and styles. And while it is true that Puma has been replaced by Nike as Adidas’ main competitor in the global market, today’s players pay them for the advertising mega-contracts they sign today because Puma Practice started. Many say the business of sports eats away, but all we can say with certainty is that the world of football has never been the same since the “Pelé Pact” broke down.

See also  Astrotalk Startup story | Puneet Gupta Success Story