ADIDAS and PUMA – The rivalry of the Dassler brothers in the football world
Rudolf Dassler was born on March 26, 1898 in the shoe maker’s family, the third child in the family. After 2 years he has an additional brother Adolf. From a young age they loved sports and were their main competitors. Love with sports and competition are probably their life until death.
Dassler brother’s shoe company
Because of his love for sports, Adi Dasler had the idea of opening a brand to produce sports shoes with his own nails. Thanks to the support of a nail forger, Dasler-I started his own business. Some time later brother Rudolf also joined, he was not knowledgeable about shoe production, but knew how to sell products. That is the secret of their success – one person thinks of ideas and performs, and another seeks customers and convinces them to buy products.
By 1924 they established the company: «Gebrüder Dassler» («Brothers Dassler»). Production is increasingly expanding, the first favorite product and great success came in 1928 at the Olympics in Amsterdam when several athletes competed with their shoes. And after four years in Los Angeles, the athlete who won their shoe medal – the German Arthur Jonat won the bronze medal in the 100m run. The climax for the brothers was in 1936 at the Olympics in Berlin, the athlete Jessie Owens (USA) wore their shoes and won 4 gold medals. At that time the whole world knew of Dassler brothers.
Everyone knows that both brothers are fascist. The totalitarian dictatorship accompanied by a healthy sports movement opens up great potential for Dassler’s factory. But because of World War II they had to start with shoes for soldiers, and in 1943 Rudolf was enlisted. However, he did not have to fight any time, because he obtained his position in the typing room, and in 1945 fled when the Soviet Red Army approached and was eventually arrested for desertion. On the way to the prison he was rescued by the American army but later arrested for cooperating with the Gestapo. When he was arrested, he learned that the accuser was the younger brother of Adolf.
All contradictions have been revealed until now. Rudolf told the US government that the idea of making shoes for Nazis was entirely given by Adolf. American soldiers lived in the Dassler mansion for almost a year and asked them to produce ice skates for American hockey. By 1946 they had just produced sports shoes, and in 1948 Christof Dassler died – the father of two brothers and the only one who prevented them from arguing and separating the company.
So in the same small city only a few hundred meters apart there are two extremely hostile sports shoe factories – Addas and Ruda. That’s right, no wrong writing.
The magic in Bern
After a few months Rudolf gave up the idea of using his name in the company name and changed it to Puma. And Adi decided to add one more word and added a line to the logo. When their competition spread, the city split into two camps.
But the fame of the two brothers is much greater than that small city. The Dassler brothers resumed their association with the Sports and Olympic Committees of the countries, after they were interrupted by the war. They always compete with each other, leading to the fact that the whole world cannot have better shoes than Adidas and Puma. In 1952 the Dassler brothers made a major turning point when they provided the West German football league with replaceable nails. But before the World Cup 1954 Adi Dassler made a deal with the German team to provide the most modern shoes of that time. And thanks to that, there was a bigger place in history than Rudi.
In the finals of the German team met «golden generation» Hungary with the great Ferenc Puskas. In the group stage Hungary destroyed Germany 8: 3 and everyone thought the championship was definitely in the hands of Hungary. The first half ended with a score of 2: 2. At the start of the second half, the sky poured heavy rain and Adolf immediately changed the players to shoes with longer nails. Thanks to that, the German team had more flexibility and the 84th minute scored the winning goal. That battle went into history with the name «The magic in Bern».
After the victory, Adi had the idea of placing an advertisement right on the stadium. In 1956 he agreed with the Olympic committee on adidas advertising at the Olympics at Melburn. So the younger brother was far ahead of him, but Rudolf did not give up. In 1958 Puma celebrated his victory over Brazil, while Rudi seized the opportunity and sued the slogan “Adidas – the best sports shoes in the world!”. And won the lawsuit.
Agreement with Pele
Although they hate each other, in order to avoid price increases in the advertising market, the sons of Rudolf and Adolf – Armin and Horst – who have an agreement with each other, will not sign the best players in the world. But having an agreement does not mean following. The South American market is very potential for two brothers. In 1970 a few months before the World Cup, Armin Dassler hired a consultant to Rio de Janeiro, to persuade South American players that they would play twice as well when going to Puma shoes. The king of football fell into a dilemma: Puma opened a wide marketing strategy but did not contact him. Then Pele’s representative gave a contract form to Armin Dassler.
Puma paid Pele for him to start tying his shoelaces right away in the yard before the game began, so everyone could see the football king walking Puma shoes:
Horst Dassler was extremely frustrated to know that. The battle between fathers became the war of children.
End the story
Rudolf Dassler died in 1974 at the age of 76 because of lung cancer. According to rumors, in the early 70s 2 brothers secretly met several times, but Adolf did not attend the funeral of his brother, only a phone call to the priest and said that he forgave his brother. Adidas has released a new model after the event with the message: «The family of Adolf Dassler doesn’t want to comment on Rudolf Dassler’s death». After 4 years Adi also died.
This day has a stadium named Adolf Dassler with his statue sitting on the stands.
The war between the two companies lasted until Adolf’s heirs also clashed with each other and eventually sold the company with half a billion dollars in revenue each year for 390 million.