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June 6, 2006

Brand Naming: Feuding Brothers Make Legendary Sneakers

The German town of Herzogenaurach has been literally split in half thanks to a .

Puma Logo

Adidas LogoFew people know that Rudolf and Adolf Dassler, who started respectively Adidas and Puma, both hailed from this small medieval town. After years of working together building lightweight athletic shoes under the Gebrüder Dassler (Dassler Brothers) brand name, the two brothers split after a bitter fight. Adolf (or Adi), started Adidas and Rudolf, after flirting with the name Ruda, went on to start the much better named Puma.

Each company is still located on either side of the small river that splits the town in two, and because most citizens work for either one or the other companies, different schools, restaurants, bakers and shops have evolved over time to accommodate the feuding factions.

Puma workers simply do not associate with Adidas people.

lie in the dark history of World War II. Both brothers were Nazi party members, but Adi was exempt from duty while Rudi trained as a radio operator and would later serve in the dreaded SS.

During an air raid, Adi, who was hiding in the family shelter, said to his wife “Here come those pigs again”, referring to RAF bombers; Rudi believed he was speaking about him and his family.

Rudi would later desert from the military and be jailed twice: first by the Gestapo and then by the Americans. Rudi always believed Adi had turned him in, and carried his hatred for his brother to his deathbed.

World CupThe rivalry – a legend in product naming history – has received new attention in the weeks leading up to the World Cup, when the two competing brand names will be outfitting rival teams:

  • Puma, while smaller than rival Adidas, will be backing twice the number of teams in the Cup
  • Of all the teams playing for the cup, more than half will wear one of the legendary German labels.

One piece of advice: if you do visit Herzogenaurach, don’t wear Nikes.

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Posted by William Lozito at June 6, 2006 10:05 AM
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» Legends in Athletic Apparel Naming and Branding to Bury the Hatchet? from Name Wire: The Product Naming Blog
Classic feuds in business are legendary. Think Pepsi and Coke, or Apple and Microsoft or...Adidas and Puma? Oh yes indeed. I have written before about how the Dassler brothers literally split the German town of Herzogenaurach with their 60 year old feu... [Read More]

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