Magoosh GRE

Marketing Strategy of Adidas: Missy Elliot Campaign and the Role of MMC Play

| March 8, 2015

Answer Two Questions on Marketing Strategy
1. Adidas: Missy Elliott Campaign
1.1. Objectives of ME campaign
There were several key objectives behind the ME campaign. Perhaps the main is to establish Adidas as a brand in the USA. Adidas are primarily a European brand, and have had a heavy reliance on soccer in marketing, and face stiff competition from Nike in America. Secondly, Adidas have been successful in marketing to existing sports fans, but less successful in attracting new customers from outside the sports field. They were therefore keen to expand their customer base to include new market segments. Thirdly, they had estimated that customers spent very little time on reading or listening to advertising, and therefore wanted to hone their message to make it “meaningful and memorable” (Wesley 2005, p. 605)
1.2. Why Missy Elliott?
Missy Elliott was chosen for the campaign as she is highly celebrated in the urban American / hip hop market sector, which offers a huge potential for growth for the company (Wesley, 2005). She also appeals to the age group 13-24, which is a key time for consumers to develop brand loyalty. Decisions made about preferred brands during adolescence often last well into adulthood (Hoyer and Macinnis, 2009). As such, Adidas stand to tap into a group of customers who will remain faithful.
1.3. Do you think this campaign will be successful in the United States and why?
Overall, the campaign stands a good chance of being successful in the US. First, Adidas have worked on the marketing mix (price, place, promotion and products) (McDaniel and Gates, 1998) to ensure a mix which is in touch with contemporary interests, and particularly those of young people. Place has been particularly well covered as they are moving away from relying solely on traditional media to embrace digital technologies (Wesley 2005). The product has extended the range of traditional Adidas products, to appeal to a wider target market, including young and fashionable Americans, not simply sports people. Their approach is particularly good as they embrace non-traditional means of marketing, rejecting a ‘hard-sell’ in favour of more oblique approaches (Tungate 2008). The campaign uses these left-of-centre approaches as well as celebrity endorsement to develop ‘relationship marketing’, or to create an emotional connection with the target market (Franzen and Moriarty 2008), particularly important as the market segment they are aiming at are the 12-24 year old consumers. While many organisations have used celebrity marketing to promote products, some are more successful than others. Celebrity endorsement, to be successful, needs to use a figure who is attractive to the consumer (Roll 2006), but in the fickle world of Urban music and fashion, this is harder than it seems. Missy Elliot successfully channels the “trendy, hip-hop spirit, luxury” (Kim 2006) approach which was designed to personalise the heritage and vintage themed “Adidas Sports Originals”. (Adidas-group.com [online] (2011). Elliot allows Adidas to tap into the youthful urban American population. With the spending power of Hip Hop fans projected to exceed $1 trillion it is a sound strategic decision for Adidas to associate with Missy Elliot. (Wesley, 2005). Some suggest, however, that Adidas lack the staying power in the US market of Nike, perceived as a ‘cooler’ brand, and might benefit from joining forces with another industry giant, such as Reebok. This would allow them bigger powers of negotiation with US retailers, and together would have more resources to throw at marketing (Richardson 2005). However, this move would be tricky: the question of how best to assimilate very different marketing styles would have to be carefully addressed.

References
Adidas-group.com (2011) ‘About Adidas’, [online] (cited 15th November 2011), available from http://www.adidas-group.com/en/ourgroup/brands/adidas.aspx

Franzen, G and Moriarty, S (2008) The Science and Art of Branding, M.E. Sharpe, USA
Hoyer, W D and Macinnis, D J (2009) Consumer Behavior (5th edn), Cengage Learning, USA

Kim, S J (2006) ‘Brand Communication Exploration’ [online] (cited 15th November 2011) available from
http://trex.id.iit.edu/~sjkim/portfolio/projects/compl_adidas_final.pdf

McDaniel, C D and Gates, R H (1998) Marketing Research, Taylor and Francis.

Richardson, B (2005) ‘Adidas bid raises image concerns’ [online] (cited 15th November 2011), available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4741343.stm

Roll, M (2006) Asian brand strategy: how Asia builds strong brands, Palgrave Macmillan.
Tungate, M (2008) Fashion brands: branding style from Armani to Zara (2nd edn.), Kogan Page Publishers, London.

Wesley, D (2005), The Brand In Hand: Mobile Marketing at Adidas, Ivey Publishing, Ontario, Canada.
2. MMC and Adidas’ Overall Brand Communications Strategy

2.1. How Important a Role Should MMC Play?
MMC should play an important role in Adidas’ overall brand communications strategy, however it should not be the only means of marketing but rather be part of an overall mix of strategies. A case can be made that most organisations are now moving towards utilizing this new platform as a strategic marketing medium, with Integrated marketing communications (IMC) becoming a norm (Barwise and Farley 2005), Being an early entrant in this scene is crucial for utilizing the full potential of the mobile media (Chaffey et al 2009), and as Adidas have been using it since 2005 at least (Wesley 2005), they are in a good position to capitalise on early entrant benefits. As Adidas are particularly keen to attract the younger market segment (12 to 24 year olds), they should also embrace MMC, as teenagers and young adults have a closer relationship with digital media than older people do although this age group are particularly discerning about content, and can be cynical about corporate motives (Spero and Stone 2004)

2.2. Is MMC Just a Fad?
MMC is not just a novel approach to marketing communications, although it is certainly that, offering possibilities for communication which had not been imagined 20 years ago. The strength of the penetration of mobile phone usage is evidence that marketing methods using new technologies is here to stay: in the USA, there were 227 million mobile phone users in 2006, up from 208 in 2005 and 182 million in 2004, and penetration in many developed countries is close to 100% (Becker and Hanley 2008). Mobile phone ownership is growing faster than use of personal computers, particularly in developing countries (Mohr et al 2009). While early versions of high technology devices often start as a fad, by the time they achieve penetration as widespread as the mobile phone, they need to be accepted as part of the range of media used to market products (Rafinejad 2007).
2.3. What Role Should MMC Play in the Future?
The role played by MMC will be shaped at least in part by future technological developments. Companies that join this mobile revolution and focus their strategies on mobile commerce will have a distinct edge over those who fail to join this mobile bandwagon. Mobile phones are enabling tools that help companies provide targeted, cost effective and innovative marketing solutions to even remote locations (Doole, 2008, 421) For Adidas, experimentation with a range of available marketing possibilities helped them create campaigns with impact (Wesley 2005). One likely possibility is that distinct mediums will become more streamlined, with mobile phones acting as a “universal back channel” to co-ordinate all forms of communication (Sheenan 2010, p. 130). Rather than distinct devices, it is predicted that consumers will think of mobiles, televisions and computers as “screens” depicting a common message. Branding will become a form of storytelling, as marketing campaigns attempt to engage the viewer’s emotions across platforms, and the relationship between passive consumer and active marketer will become blurred, as interactivity increases (Roberts 2005). MMC needs to work with this change in role and offer the consumer something engaging and creative if it is to work successfully.

3. References
Barwise, P and Farley, J U (2005) ‘The state of interactive marketing in seven countries: Interactive marketing comes of age. Journal of Interactive marketing 19(3): 67–80.
Chaffey, D, Ellis-Chadwick, F, Mayer, R and Johnston, K (2009) Internet marketing: strategy, implementation and practice Pearson Education.
Doole, I and Lowe, R (2008) International Marketing Strategy, South-Western Cengage Learning, USA
Mohr, J J, Becker, M and Hanley, M (2008) ‘The Mediating Effects of Privacy and Preference Management on Trust and Consumer Participation in a Mobile Marketing Initiative: a Proposed Conceptual Model’, in Kautonen, T and Karajaluoto, H (eds.) Trust and new technologies: marketing and management on the Internet and mobile media, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2008, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, pp. 127-145.
Mohr, J J , Sengupta, S and Slater, S F (2009) Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations 3rd edn., Jakki Mohr, USA
Rafinejad, D (2007) Innovation, product development and commercialization: case studies and key practices for market leadership, J. Ross Publishing, USA
Roberts,K (2005) SiSoMo: The Future on Screen, PowerHouse Books.
Sengupta, S and Slater, S F (2009) Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations 3rd edn., Jakki Mohr, USA
Sheenan, B (2010) Basics Marketing: Online Marketing, AVA Publishing, Switzerland.
Spero, I and Stone, M (2004) ‘Agents of change: how young consumers are changing the world of marketing’, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 7:2, 153 – 159.
Wesley, D (2005), The Brand In Hand: Mobile Marketing at Adidas, Ivey Publishing, Ontario, Canada.

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