Monday, August 08, 2011

'Adidas' means greed

Adidas has bought itself a world-sized cup of bad feelings over its pricing of replica New Zealand All Blacks jerseys. The jerseys, which are made overseas, sell for around $220 in most New Zealand stores, but less than half that from online stores overseas.

The difference is the wholesale price charged by Adidas. Major chains in New Zealand make roughly the same margin on an inexpensive t-shirt as they do on these jerseys, according to an article in the New Zealand Herald, so have little incentive to sell overpriced Adidas jerseys if New Zealand consumers balk at paying so much.

Adidas has said nothing about the controversy so far, but—again according to the Herald—last week Adidas “confirmed some overseas websites are being investigated to see if they were breaking a cross-border agreement which stops them from selling to New Zealand residents.”

So, Adidas is ripping off New Zealand consumers, charging more here than anywhere else, and then they try to make sure New Zealand consumers can’t get a better deal overseas. Adidas are such nice people.

Adidas is a major global brand and doesn’t need to do this. Since New Zealand is a small market, Adidas can’t possibly sell enough jerseys at these exorbitant prices to subsidise lower prices in other countries. So, the only logical reason for the ridiculously high prices Adidas charges here is that they could; that, combined with them trying to close-off any other options for New Zealand consumers, proves Adidas’ real motivation: Greed.

So, no thanks, Adidas: The jerseys you sell here aren’t twice as good as the same ones you sell overseas. I think the next time I’m in the market for the sorts of products you sell, I’ll only consider your competitors. I’m sure your competitors thank you for your excellent customer focus and good business ethics.

Yeah, sometimes sarcasm is the only serious response possible.

Update 09 August 2011: It has been confirmed that Adidas is trying to prevent New Zealand consumers from buying the jerseys overseas, ordering online stores to stop shipping to New Zealand. They have also refused to lower the price, and gone on a ham-fisted, tonedeaf PR offensive. Last night, Adidas had the cheek to declare that New Zealanders "know they are supporting New Zealand rugby when they buy a replica All Blacks jersey". Bullshit. New Zealanders know they’re supporting the profit margins of Adidas and nothing more. It is absurd nonnsense—and highly dishonest—for Adidas to try and portray their exorbitant prices as being like some sort of donation to support rugby in New Zealand. New Zealanders just aren’t that stupid!

Adidas also said, "The price of the All Blacks jersey is comparable to other licensed replica jerseys being sold in NZ." Whether that’s actually true or not is irrelevant. The issue here is that Adidas is knowingly, deliberately and greedily gouging New Zealand consumers on this jersey, not some non-specified “comparable” one.

This has been an unmitigated PR disaster for Adidas, one they created and have happily made even worse. Adidas has become a case study in how to destroy goodwill and customer support. An online poll on the NZ Herald website showed (at the time I viewed the results) that 90% of respondents answered “yes” to the question, “Would you boycott Adidas over its rugby jersey stance?” The poll is not scientific in any way, but results that are this lopsided show the depth of strong feelings.

And this isn’t even over yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I tried 2 says ago to buy from Rugbyworldshop.com but they had already withdrawn New Zealand as a shipping desination. Have written to complain but they have ignorned my compalint. Managed to buy a shirt from the UK Rugby shop for $128.00 inc of shipping.