Before getting into Reebok and TaylorMade, it’s a good idea to survey the media performance of the parent brand – Adidas – the current #2 brand in the Athletic & Sports Apparel Brands sector.

The brand did not have a good July, declining -3 points or -4 percent to a media rating of 82.  Much of the loss is due to aggressive media efforts by many of the brand’s lesser competitors.  Nike, the dominant brand in the sector, is almost riding its own wave these days and generates massive media coverage with little effort, similar to Apple in the tech sector.

Momentum is up slightly for Adidas, but over the preceding 2 years there has been no sign the brand is setting news agendas.  But the real alarm is the current-month decline places the brand 6 points behind its trailing 12-month average — and only 4 points in front of #3 Under Armour!

But lets move onto Reebok and TaylorMade, the company’s divisional offspring.

Reebok is operating at the lower end of its rating curve.  Actually, that’s an understatement as the brand is just 1 point shy of its 4-year media rating low of 68 which it hit last month.  Reebok is up less than a point at 69 this month and media momentum has been in negative territory for 12 straight months.  Take a look at the 4-year rating curve for the #5 brand in the Athletic & Sports Apparel Brands sector:

TaylorMade is not faring well either.  The brand is off -5 points or nearly -10 percent this month at a moderate 47 rating position.  The golf brand lost 6 positions this month in the Athletic Apparel sector and is running an almost flat 4-year rating curve (see below).  The only positive sign is the brand is showing positive momentum over the preceding 2-month period, suggesting TaylorMade may be reversing a stagnant media position.

The message for all three brands is clear.  Monitor your (and competitors’) earned media carefully.  There’s a lot of aggressive posturing and outbound media work in the sector and rankings are changing, and not to the advantage of Adidas.  Reebok may have leveled out its decline and TaylorMade is seeing the early signs of increased media momentum, but the parent brand should monitor the overall media channel carefully given the competitiveness and vulnerabilities inherent in this sector.