Ben Cavender CMR 3
Ben Cavender

Adidas is gaining ground on the China market leader for sport articles. While Nike focuses on the big stars, Adidas is winning because of a marketing strategy that focuses much more on the lifestyle of ordinary users, tells retail analyst Ben Cavender in AdAge.


Online, Adidas has featured female sports groups from across China. It invested heavily in TV, with an ad showing Chinese women running, dancing and doing parkour.

It’s a smart strategy, said Ben Cavender, associate principal at China Market Research Group. Featuring nontraditional activities like dance and badminton, which can be done in small groups, helps connect with less sporty consumers who may feel intimidated at a gym.

Nike’s marketing in China, meanwhile, remains driven by sports stars like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Messaging highlights the technical performance of Nike products, which consumers find to be cool, but “there’s no emotional connection for them,” Mr. Cavender said. “They’re failing to grab people’s interest on a more visceral level.”

More in AdAge.

Ben Cavender is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

China Weekly Hangout

Figuring out what China’s consumers want is not always easy. On June 20, the China Weekly Hangout asked “What do Chinese tourists want?” Roy Graff of ChinaContact joined us to discuss the increasingly diversifying market of Chinese tourists. And yes, there is no longer one answer for basic questions. Moderation by Fons Tuinstra of the China Speakers Bureau.

The China Weekly Hangout is going to resume on toda with an open office session where you can participate to help to set the agenda. You can join by registering here, or read our initial announcement here.

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