Adidas revitalizes Stan Smith, creates future sales blueprint
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Adidas revitalizes Stan Smith, creates future sales blueprint

Adidas has big plans for its sneakers, hoping to increase sales by 40 million pairs per year by 2020. If the company succeeds, it will be selling half a billion pairs annually in three years time, focusing on fashion-conscious teens and urban hipsters. And key to its plans is a three decade-old design: the Stan Smith sneaker. This model was introduced in 1971, a year before the tennis star from whom it takes its name won his second and last Grand Slam singles title.

Adidas share price has risen consistently throughout 2017


SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

The Stan Smith sneaker is a white leather tennis show with pale green accents, and has recently transformed itself from a declining brand into a must-have shoe. This hasn’t happened accidentally – the company was planning a brand revitalization as early as five years ago, its spirits buoyed by the fact that Stan Smiths were on display being worn by Phoebe Philo, creative director of Céline fashion house at her shows.

Arthur Hoeld, the head of Adidas’ brand strategy and business development segment, says that the company hopes to apply elements of the Stan Smith campaign with its other products: “We wanted to position it anew with fashion designers and trendsetters. This is part of the concept – to push boundaries, to experiment.”

Adidas took a number of ingenious steps in putting Stan Smith shoes back in the limelight. First, it removed it from the market completely in 2012, creating the impression that the shoe’s time was done, and making it nearly impossible to find. As angry fan letters began coming in, Adidas realised demand for the shoe was still high, and it started sending out promotional pairs to celebrities it worked with. This paid off when Vogue featured supermodel Gisele Bündchen wearing them with nothing but white socks. A promotional video later, and the first new Stan Smiths were on sale in 2014.

A brief history of the Stan Smith sneaker

By 2015, the Stan Smith sneaker had become a winning product for Adidas, with sales jumping significantly to 8 million. And though the company hasn’t released figures, research group NPD Group Inc. thinks that sales rose five-fold last year. Importantly, Adidas thinks it has hit on a winning formula to revitalize sales of its classic brands. Not everyone expected them to succeed. Smith himself said “I thought there was no way 14- to 24-year-olds would relate to me, so I thought it was a bad strategy. I’ve been proven wrong. Big time.”

The question for Adidas now is which of its classic designs to revitalize next?


Dominion holds Adidas in its Global Trends Luxury Fund. 

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