How brand respect got the boot
IN MAY, a colleague in Cape Town, Lindiz van Zilla, sent a private request via e-mail to adidas’s head office in Cape Town asking for assistance with regards to some boots for members of a football team.
The team plays in a church league and counts a number of foreigners (refugees and asylum seekers) among its members, some of whom eke out a daily existence and find a pair of football boots out of reach.
A request was submitted to adidas seeking half a dozen pairs of boots – new, out of production or even used – to assist some members of the team.
The e-mail request was submitted on two occasions and followed up with a number of telephone calls which saw messages left on the answering service of a senior member of the adidas staff.
Eventually, a reply came by email, which simply read:
Hi Tammy, Please review with the CSR Committee and respond to Lindiz as below (and copied). Thanks, Michelle. There was not so much as an acknowledgement of receipt of the e-mail or the request.
A week later my colleague followed up again just to check on the progress of the request that had been passed on. Came the reply: Dear Lindiz adidas would like to confirm receipt of your request for assistance.
While taking cognisance of the merits of your request, we must unfortunately inform you that the company will not be able to accommodate it at this stage as our budget has already been fully allocated.
Wishing you every success in the future.
adidas shoes are piled up in a display window at the new adidas Brand Center store, the world’s largest of its kind, in Beijing, China PICTURE: AP