Despite Slavery Remarks Adidas Is Sticking With Kanye West

While Adidas has not discussed dropping Kanye West as a designer, the Adidas AG chief executive Kasper Rorsted has made it known that the company does not support any comments West has made about slavery.

On a call with analysts, Rorsted said:

“There clearly are some comments we don’t support.”

With that, Rorsted also noted in an interview with Bloomberg TV that Adidas plans on having a conversation with West about the matter.

Rorsted also mentions that Kanye West plays a very important role in the German sportswear maker’s strategy.

The CEO also brings light to the struggle companies tend to face when their celebrity brand ambassadors veer off the script.

Kanye sparked outrage on social media this week when he made comments about slavery in the US, in an interview with TMZ this week.

West said:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”

And while West designs Yeezy models that Adidas only offers in limited runs, Rorsted notes that Yeezy only provides a limited financial contribution but play a key role in terms of “brand heat.”

And that strategy allows the brand to create brand desirability which has now enabled Adidas to steal market share from larger rival Nike Inc.

According to NPD analyst Matt Powell, last year Adidas overtook Nike’s Jordan as the No. 2 brand in U.S. sports footwear, behind the U.S. company’s flagship label.

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