The Adidas Face Mask is a Desperate Marketing Ploy – And it Worked

Adidas has released its own branded face mask, as the company struggles through a 95% drop in net profits during the worldwide lockdown.
  • Adidas has released its own branded face mask, at a time when it’s struggling desperately to sell its usual sportswear.
  • While not medically graded, the mask has sold out anyway, testifying to the power of brands over common sense.
  • The release is basically a marketing stunt, one which Adidas hopes will maintain the presence of its brand during a period of lockdown.

Adidas has released a washable face mask, as its core business takes a massive hit from worldwide lockdowns.

The German sportswear manufacturer had already announced a 95% fall in profit for Q1 2020, before lockdowns became widespread. It’s expecting an even worse second quarter.

Very few people are going to the gym right now or playing competitive sports. So in a sign of complete and utter desperation, Adidas has attempted to remind the world that it still exists by jumping on the face-mask bandwagon.

Adidas Face Mask ‘Hype Drop’

Released on Monday, the Adidas “face cover” comes in packs of three, which cost $16.

Like so much of Adidas’ merchandise, it is basically a piece of cheap cloth with the Adidas logo on it. It certainly isn’t a bonafide piece of personal protective equipment (PPE), as Adidas admits on its website:

This cover is not a medically graded mask nor a Personal Protective Equipment but can help prevent the spread of viruses and germs through droplet transmission.

But if the mask isn’t medically graded, how can anyone be sure it helps prevent contagion?

Still, this oversight hasn’t stopped the face masks from quickly selling out. That’s right, many of us would rather have the Adidas logo on our faces than wear a certifiably protective mask.

Adidas announces the release of its face mask on Twitter. ⎮ Source: Twitter

The three face masks probably cost around $3 (at most) to produce, if other Adidas markup rates are any guide.

In fact, a genuine N95 mask costs between $0.75 and $1.50 to produce. And aside from offering certified protection, it may also avoid turning your face into an advertisement.

That said, the general public is already in love with Adidas’ face masks.

Some people have reacted with disappointment to the news that the face masks are already sold out. ⎮ Source: Twitter

More interestingly, some comments have implied that slapping a brand on face masks will help people accept the new reality of living in a pandemic. Apparently, it’s easier to adopt new behavior when a brand is involved.

Someone makes the point that Adidas will make face masks more psychologically acceptable to wear. ⎮ Source: Twitter

Tough And Tougher Times

Yet behind the excitement surrounding a logo, there’s the story of how Adidas has actually performed as a company during the worldwide lockdown.

This is the real story of the face mask. And if nothing else, this story indicates that Adidas is now so desperate to sell anything that it will sell a non-medically graded face mask.

Back in March, Adidas warned of a $1.1 billion sales in China alone in Q1. That was only the beginning, because at the end of April it announced a 95% drop in worldwide Q1 net profit, to a paltry $33 million.

Worse still, it expects an even worse second quarter. With more than 70% of its stores closed, it isn’t really selling its core products — shoes and clothes — at the moment.

Adidas is struggling, like most other major clothing retailers. | Source: Shutterstock

Its stock price is down 32% since a January high of 176.26. By comparison, the Dow Jones is down roughly 17.2% from its February high of 29,551.

The company is clearly struggling. So how does it respond? Well, it releases its own branded Adidas face mask. Yes, this move seems completely desperate, and actual sales of the mask will hardly make a dent in its 95% drop in profits.

Nonetheless, by associating itself with the hot topic at the moment, Adidas has pulled off a neat marketing trick. It has found a way to keep itself in the public eye. So when the pandemic does end, it can more smoothly transition to selling branded sneakers again, rather than masks.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.

Samburaj Das edited this article for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or Rights and Duties of the Editor or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.

Last modified: May 26, 2020 11:06 AM UTC

Published:
May 26, 2020 10:40 AM UTC
Posted in: BusinessOp-ed
More of: Adidas
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Simon Chandler @_simonchandler_

Markets Contributor for CCN living in London, UK. Has a Bachelor's degree in History and Archaeology from Reading University in 2006, and a Master's in Philosophy from King's College London in 2011. Also contributes to Forbes and Digital Trends, among others. Email me | Follow Me on Twitter | My Website | Muck Rack