Following yesterday’s blockbuster news of Beyoncé signing a big deal with Adidas, news has emerged that the entrepreneur and entertainer had originally considered a partnership with Reebok, but turned it down because the team tasked with pitching her lacked diversity.
According to ESPN reporter Nick dePaula, “It’s just not about putting her name on a shoe. It’s about putting an imprint on the company. It’s about diversity. I had heard throughout this process over the past year or two, she had discussed with Under Armour, with Reebok as well, Jordan at one point was interested in partnering with her…”
“And she had a meeting with Reebok and they put together a presentation and everything, potential products, how this could all look, and she stepped back and said, ‘Is this the team that will be working on my product?’ And somebody said, ‘Yes,’ and she said, ‘Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin color and where I’m from and what I want to do.’ And she took a step back and left. And then it did not come to terms.”
He added,”She has 136 million followers on Instagram, that’s more than all 36 Adidas accounts combined.”
While the story is an intriguing one, it’s worth pointing out that Reebok is owned by Adidas and the two companies share the same executive management team, led by the German-based CEO, Kasper Rorsted. That said, the two brands have different North American headquarters. Reebok is based in Boston while Adidas’ North American headquarters is in Portland.
It’s also worth noting that since being purchased by Adidas in 2006, Reebok has struggled to grow and doesn’t hold the same prestige as its parent company. Rorsted has brushed off pushes by shareholders to sell Reebok and recently promised it would return to growth in 2020.
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