New Balance follows Adidas’ ‘outlook-specific’ football strategy

New Balance is following in the footsteps of Adidas as it launches its first football boot range which focus on a “style of play” rather than a position on the field.

The brand is promoting the launch of its “Visaro” and “Furon” boots with a campaign video titled “Make Chances. Take Chances” featuring four of the premier league footballers it sponsors, including Aaron Ramsey and Adnan Januzaj.

The move is “not position-specific, it’s outlook-specific” according to the brand.

It adds that the Visaro is for players who “make chances” and “need to be everywhere at once” while the Furon is for those who “take chances” and need to be “in the right place at the right time”.

In March the brand said it wanted to use football to become a “top three global athletic brand”, an ambition that was reflected in its decision to take over as official kit supplier for Liverpool Football Club.

Having originally entered the soccer arena when it bought Warrior in 2004, the company also launched its first soccer business under the New Balance brand in February. The move means the Boston-based sports apparel manufacturer will

Speaking with Marketing Week about the LFC deal, Wright said: “It’s important to have a unique proposition, particularly in the most competitive category in the world, and I think we have that.”

However, New Balance appears to be following in the footsteps of rival Adidas.

Adidas overhauled its football business by retiring its entire football range in May and introducing a new line of products, the X and ACE, a move that it said was part of its efforts to adapt to the changing game of football which has a “new set of rules”.

Adidas said that “instead of previously defined player types or positions, modern football teams nowadays need only two types of players on the pitch”, which it has titled the “game changers and the play makers” or “chaos and control”.

New Balance doesn’t provide financial results but Adidas’ football business seems to be in good health – its first quarter results showed that currency-neutral footwear sales had increased by 18%, mainly due to double-digit sales growth in the running and football categories.

Group sales had also increased by 9% on a currency neutral basis, with sales of the adidas brand up by 11%.

Rival Nike also saw its football business growth in the second quarter of its fiscal 2015 year, with double digit revenue growth in football credited for 24% revenue growth in Western Europe in the quarter, despite the fact it has recently focused its attention on its womenswear and e-commerce businesses.



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Adidas is thinking big with football overhaul, but the strategy contradicts its recent moves

Alison Millington

After launching a major football boot campaign with “Haters” in January, appointing a new global creative agency in March and announcing a new strategy earlier this month, Adidas appears to be aware of the challenges it faces from competitors. However, its announcement this week that it will retire its entire existing line of football boots appears somewhat contradictory to its more recent moves.


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