Creative Leaders on Beginnings: adidas’ Florian Alt

We’ve talked to a number of CR’s Creative Leaders 50 about how they got started, the best advice they’ve received and how they bring their teams with them when beginning a new project. Here adidas Football’s Florian Alt tells us about getting his first break

Adidas has pretty much been embedded into Florian Alt’s DNA since day one. Growing up in the German town of Herzogenaurach – home to the headquarters of both adidas and Puma – you are required to pick a side fairly early on. Since Alt’s father worked for adidas, he was already pre-branded.

After starting out on the sporting brand’s apprenticeship programme, Alt has since worked on the marketing team at adidas Football for more than 20 years, and is now its Vice President of Global Brand Communications.

In that time, Alt has been through three World Cups with the brand, spearheaded clever marketing strategies such as ‘dark social’ and is the marketer behind a number of hugely popular campaigns from the brand, including There Will Be Haters and Never Follow. Here, he discusses his career journey with adidas to date and some of the best advice he’s had along the way.

Creative Review: How did you come to work at adidas?
Florian Alt: It’s quite funny that we talk about this topic now, because it’s been more or less 20 years since when this whole journey started for me. In the beginning, I didn’t necessarily know exactly where it would take me. During my school days I already worked in the factory outlet for adidas, and then I applied for its apprentice programme after spending a year in the army. I started back in the day on an apprenticeship for industrial business management, which was a two and a half year programme at adidas where you were taken through the complete business of the brand, from accounting to product, to sales, to marketing.

It gave people who had been selected the opportunity to really see the breadth and depth of an international company like adidas. Nowadays it still has similar ones in place, and it’s good because if you come very fresh from school you get a sneak peek behind the curtain at all the opportunities your professional life and career can take.