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Adidas is a global sportswear manufacturer that grew from roots that started in 1924 by the Dassler brothers before, evolving into the second largest sports brand in the world, now known as Adidas, on August 18, 1949. The brand has had its fair share of success and scrutiny in its 73-year existence. As a company that has diversity, equity, and inclusion as key points in its global strategy, Adidas is not a stranger to facing criticism in this area. In October 2022, recording artist, producer, and entrepreneur Kanye (Ye) West came under fire for a series of controversial actions. From wearing a shirt that had "White Lives Matter" written on the back of it, to anti-Semitic comments he’s made, Ye is no stranger to controversy, and neither is Adidas. Fellow celebrities and consumers alike were calling for boycotts against Adidas, which initially placed the partnership with Ye “under review”.

This paper aims to examine the impact of controversial celebrity-brand relationships. It explores whether consumers are influenced by celebrity partnerships or spokespersons when making purchases and the potential harm brands face by not distancing themselves from controversial figures. Additionally, it investigates consumer awareness of Adidas's diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives regarding social issues and proposes strategies for Adidas to navigate such situations in the future.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.