How has the Kanye West fallout affected Adidas’ brand health?
November 7th, 2022, Hoang Nguyen

How has the Kanye West fallout affected Adidas’ brand health?

Several brands have recently ended their partnerships with Kanye West including fashion brands Balenciaga, Gap, and Adidas following the musician’s troubling saga of antisemitic rhetoric in October.

Forbes reports that Kanye West has lost his billionaire status since Adidas severed ties with him on October 25th, officially ending the company's nine-year relationship with the rapper. Adidas reports the move will have a “short term negative impact of up to [$246 million USD] on the company’s net income in 2022.”

New data from YouGov BrandIndex—which tracks consumer perceptions of brands on a daily basis—reveals that while the decision to drop Kanye West may cost Adidas plenty of money, it is generating more conversations around the brand, particularly in the US, which has led to increased consumer willingness to buy from the brand among two key audiences: 18-34s and existing Adidas customers.

But this appears to be a tale of two stories. In the UK, Consideration for Adidas among its customers has taken a slight hit in October and so have its Reputation scores among customers and young adults.

People are talking more about Adidas since it ended its partnership with Kanye West

Looking at Word of Mouth (WOM) Exposure, which asks if consumers have talked about a brand with friends and family in the past two weeks, we see that roughly a fifth (21.5%) of 18-34s and 61.5% of Adidas customers in the US have talked about the brand at the beginning of October.

By the end of the month, WOM Exposure ticked up by 5-percentage points among both 18-34s (26.3%) and current customers (66.6%).

We’re also seeing a higher rate of Consideration for Adidas among the same groups after the company made the announcement to cut ties with Kanye West. The brand’s scores ticked up by roughly 6-percentage points for both Adidas customers (from 76.1% at the beginning of October to 82% after the announcement) and 18-34s (from 32.4% to 38.2%) in the US.

Adidas’ Reputation scores are tumbling in the UK

The decision to end the company’s brand deal with Kanye West doesn’t seem to have had the same effect in the UK as it has in the US.

Indeed, just days after Adidas ended its partnership with the celebrity, a poll from YouGov Survey Direct revealed that 37% of Britons who say they ”tend to buy” from Adidas believe the company moved too slow in terminating its partnership with Kanye West.

And while there has been a small dip of roughly six percentage points in terms of Reputation (a net score of whether someone would be proud or embarrassed to work for a company) among current customers of Adidas in the US, these scores have plummeted among the company’s customers across the pond.

Adidas’ net Reputation among its customers sat at a high of 69.6 near the beginning of October but fell by roughly 17-points by the end of the month (net score of 52.8). The downturn appears to be less severe among 18-34s where we see a decrease of six points.

There is a silver lining though. Adidas’ Consideration scores among its customers in the UK are leveling out following the announcement and the news even appears to be striking the right chord among young adults. Consideration trended up by three percentage points among 18-34s in the UK after the brand announced it would stop working with the star.

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