For some it’s just a label, for others, it represents a way of life. Regardless of your association with brands, there is no denying that they have the power to influence our purchase decisions and create deep-rooted connections with their consumers. Sometimes, however, these relationships go way beyond brand affiliation; they transcend into brand love. In the case of Corporate Controlling intern Ludovico Giraudo, his passion for adidas has taken him from his hometown of Turin, Italy all the way into the heart of adidas’ operations in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Although ‘the brand with the three stripes’ has played a big role in his upbringing and personal development, Ludovico’s true journey with adidas is only just beginning.
A dream come true
As a master’s student at ESCP Business School, Ludovico was presented with the opportunity to complete an internship at a company of his choice. Despite having several offers, in his mind there was never really a choice – picking adidas was a no-brainer. “I want to work for a company that values creativity and has a strong corporate culture. In that sense, adidas was definitely on the top of my list. When I came across the internship opportunity here, I didn’t think twice before applying. It’s rare to see companies that are so focused and passionate about what they do. At adidas there is a saying that ‘there is no better feeling than winning as a team’ and you can really feel how this statement resonates with everyone within the organization.”
Having no prior professional experience in the sphere of sports, he had no idea what to expect when coming to Herzogenaurach. Although familiar with adidas as a brand, Ludovico has no established perception of the company as an employer. Once he arrived at his new workplace, however, he quickly became accustomed to his new surroundings. “The first time I laid eyes on the World of Sport I felt like I was in Disneyland”. I was astounded by the beautiful buildings, incredible sporting facilities, and overall atmosphere on campus. Being surrounded by so many like-minded individuals, who share the same brand love and enthusiasm for sports feels really inspiring and makes my work even more exciting. What I have noticed during my initial few months in the company, is that I am not only learning new things about the industry, but I am also falling in love with adidas all over again.”
Through thick and thin
Although Ludovico only joined adidas three months ago, his relationship with the brand began all the way back in 2004, when he received his first-ever adidas product – the ‘Roteiro’ – the official match ball for Euro 2004. “Ever since I was a little kid, I have always had a passion for sports, especially football. I have never been the most technically gifted player, but I was still really passionate about it and couldn’t wait to finish my classes so I could go and play. I received my first football in elementary school, and I remember the day like it was yesterday – I felt like the happiest kid in the world. It was the first adidas item that I owned and was amazed how such a simple product can bring so much excitement into one’s life. That summer, I lost the ball and ended up working tirelessly the whole vacation just so I could earn enough money to get another one. For me, it was more than just a ball, it was a symbol for everything that I loved about the beautiful game.”
Initially, Ludovico’s only association with adidas was through football. As he got a bit older, he started to discover a broader range of products through his interest in fitness and running. “In high school, I went through a difficult phase. I was eating unhealthily and weighed over 100 kilos at the age of 14. It was at that point that I decided that I wanted to turn my life around and get in better shape. I started looking for different ways to keep myself active and the one activity that I really enjoyed was running. In the beginning, it was very challenging to find the motivation to get off the couch and start exercising, but I never gave up and I am glad I didn’t. Today, 10 years later, I still run on a regular basis, and I can’t imagine my life without it.”
“During my weight loss journey, adidas played a huge part in helping me build confidence and feel comfortable in my own skin. One of adidas’ strengths is the depth of their product assortment. Where we truly separate ourselves from other sports brands is through our diverse running footwear ranges. From the intricate, high-performance technology of the adizero, to the more inclusive design of adidas Takumi – each pair offers different support and feel. I started off by using the adistar boost as it offered a lot of stability and helped reduce the pressure on my knees. As I gained some experience, I added the Solar Glide and Boston to my collection. I learned how each pair affects my running technique and used a different one depending on my training goals. I now own five pairs of running shoes and have grown to appreciate all their unique characteristics.”
From his background in football to his love of running and fitness, it’s safe to say that Ludovico’s heart lies with sports. His wardrobe certainly reflects his interests as he tells me about the hundreds of sports apparel and footwear items he has collected over the years. When asked about his favorite adidas product, however, Ludovico gives a rather unexpected answer. “I have always associated adidas with sports, but if I had to pick one item that best represents the brand, it has to be the Stan Smith. Simple yet stylish, modern yet timeless – it is an iconic shoe that has proven it can withstand the test of time. I wore them when I was 10 years old, and I am certain that I will still be wearing them in 40 years’ time.”
A bright future
Having followed the development of adidas since he was a little kid, Ludovico is no stranger to the company’s bold marketing campaigns and product launches. When discussing the future of the brand, he is not afraid to present an aspiring vision. “As a brand we are never static, we always try to push the boundaries of fashion and innovation. From our very first “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign featuring Muhammad Ali, to our most recent collaborations with designer brands Gucci and Balenciaga, adidas has continuously succeeded in capturing the attention and imagination of consumers. With our increased focus on sustainability and high-end products, I can envision adidas being at the forefront of sustainable and luxury fashion in the very near future. I would love to one day see our stores adorn iconic shopping locations such as the Via Montenapoleone in Milan or Bond Street in London. I am eager to see what the future has in store for adidas, and I couldn’t be more excited about being a part of this incredible journey.”
Now in the final stages of his internship, Ludovico continues to approach his work with curiosity and elation. He shares that working for the three stripes has allowed him to glimpse into the dynamic nature of the sports industry and learn more about his craft than he could ever imagine. Ludovico expresses his enthusiasm for the last few months of his work as he pulls out a pair of running shoes from his bag and heads out for his daily running session.