|Max Van Den Doel - Head of Global Sports Marketing Teamsports & Training, adidas International|
Monday, 09 May 2011 19:02
Max van den Doel relocated back to his hometown of Amsterdam, following the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he works for adidas as the Head of Global Sports Marketing Teamsports and Training. Before then, Max worked for adidas Asia/Pacific for five years in Hong Kong. One of the highlights during his stay in the fast growing region were the Bejing 2008 Olympic Games, another milestone sporting event in Asia, having worked on the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan.
Prior to that Max worked in Germany for 5 years on football related licensed products, gaining commercial experience in working with the world's biggest football clubs/events. He began his career with adidas in New York after moving to America as a teenager.
How did you first get involved in the sport industry?
Sport has always been a strong passion from when I was a child. Growing up in a football-family in Amsterdam made the first choice of sports very easy. Moving to New York during my late teenage years allowed me to expand my interest in so many other sports. I remember the fascination I developed for Mega Sporting events such as the NFL Superbowl, the NBA All Star Weekend, the World Series and many others. Two decades ago, the American sports marketing industry was advanced and formed the basis of my desire to be involved professionally within the industry. I was lucky to start with adidas during the FIFA World Cup in USA back in 1994.
What defines a strong brand for you?
I believe that: A strong brand excels at delivering the benefits customers truly desire. A good example would be Apple with its simplistic design combined with user-friendly technological innovations. Another example would be Coca Cola. The company has done a great job of spreading its brand name strength overseas and bringing new customers aboard because of that strong brand name. In terms of a sports marketing context, it’s probably fair to say that Coca Cola’s sponsorship investments and subsequent association with World Soccer is a benchmark for many other companies.
How important are Adidas' long-term, big name partnerships, for example, NBA, FIFA and UEFA as well as major clubs?
Being involved in sports for such a long time means that adidas has build up partnerships with the World’s leading governing bodies of sports. These partnerships spread across all sports and are something that adidas is not only very proud of, but also form natural sporting platforms to launch innovative products. To be associated with the best clubs in the best leagues and to have iconic athletes wear the latest adidas products during the biggest sporting events allows adidas to showcase its self as the world’s leading sports brand.
What goes into selecting Adidas' partners? Is it a purely financial decision?
The process of selecting the right asset for adidas often begins at a very early stage of an athlete’s career – where financial considerations are of insignificant importance. As a high performance sports brand, the 1st criteria is –and will always remain- top performances on the field of play. When the athlete is young and upcoming, adidas evaluates his/her talent and potential to become a top performer in the future. After that adidas looks for assets who personify the adidas brand values and whom consumers can relate to. Two-time consecutive Ballon D’or winner Leo Messi is a great example of somebody who was on adidas’ radar for a long time. Financial considerations are important to any company and the established evaluation model of sports marketing investments allow adidas to minimize the risk and optimize the commercial return.