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Olympic boost for Adidas a year after riots

What a difference a year makes. Last summer, TV bulletins and newspaper front pages were plastered with photos of youths looting English shops wearing Adidas hoodies and trackies.

business Updated: Aug 17, 2012 21:15 IST

What a difference a year makes. Last summer, TV bulletins and newspaper front pages were plastered with photos of youths looting English shops wearing Adidas hoodies and trackies.

This summer, Adidas again featured on the front pages almost every day for a fortnight. This time on the sports kit of Team GB's Olympic gold medallists, and the odd royal or three.

"It is a real coup. Incredible publicity," says Imogen Power, a brand analyst at market research firm Mintel, of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry wearing Team GB polo shirts featuring Adidas's logo.

Mark Borkowski, a PR and branding expert, said: "They just lucked out really with the royals.... A year ago they (Adidas) had front pages with every rioter wearing their clobber going in and nicking stuff, now they have all these heroes wearing their gear. It is an amazing turnaround."

It only cost Adidas £127m (Rs. 1,111.3 crore) over five years to be a London 2012 "tier one" sponsor, according to Mintel - a sum seen as a bargain in the industry.

"It's money very well spent," Borkowski says. "There will be lots of marketing people giving themselves high fives."

Adidas has already started to count benefits. Last week, the German company said it had sold about €100m (Rs. 687 crore) of Olympic-related merchandise. It is more than three times the amount it achieved from the Beijing 2008 Olympics, but a fraction of the €1.6bn it expects from football kits and associated products this year.

Herbert Hainer, Adidas's chief executive, said: "We are very happy with our sales, especially since the Olympic Games started."

Dr Dre also had a successful Olympics with an ambush marketing campaign that saw athletes wearing his Beats headphones. McDonald's also benefited from social media, with athletes excitedly tweeting about their fast food pig-outs after finishing the Olympic events.