The Bey-hive has been all abuzz since Thursday when the mega apparel brand Adidas announced it had signed a major marketing partnership deal with Beyonce’. This new creative collaboration promises to be definitive of not only the superstar’s commitment to innovative creativity but also inspiring positive social change on a global level.
Though news of this exciting venture set the marketing world ablaze, it’s Beyonce’s alleged rejection of major footwear brand Rebbok, that has been dominating the news cycle.
According to Sport’s writer Nick DePaula, Beyonce had been on an extensive mission to find an appropriate brand partner with whom she could develop worldwide branding initiatives. One of the most prominent companies, Rebook, threw its hat in the ring as a top contender in hopes of wooing the ‘Lemonade’ lady herself to the table.
In a tweet, Depaula posted a segment from his appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump,” sharing that Reebook had pulled out all the stops to impress Queen Bey, creating detailed presentations of projected ideas and campaign pitches. However, once the meeting concluded, Beyonce reportedly expressed a big concern as she looked around the room, realizing a lack of diversity within the entire team of Reebok decision makers.
Depaula explains, “she kinda took a step back and said ‘is this the team that would 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.’ On that note, she exited the building (in my mind throwing a cashmere wrap dramatically across her shoulder in big, black, tinted over-sized sunglasses).
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) April 5, 2019
Beyonce’s flashing redlight to Reebok due to a lack of diversity is a warning shot to all major brands and corporations hoping to align with today’s urban -anchored celebrities. They wield a tremendous amount of power, and in Beyonce’s case, her 126 million Instagram followers greatly outnumber the combined followers of all the brands who pursued her for a collaborative partnership.
Today’s artists are not the same as say 20 years ago, when the norm was simply for behemoth brands like Pepsi or Coke to haphazardly throw millions of dollars at a major star (Madonna), just for a few seconds of sipping, singing and dancing to sell their product.
No, today’s endorsement-worthy stars exist in the era of the social media influencer, where online marketing power relies heavily on the authenticity of the personality. In this modern age, that is what motivates and sustains their audiences and unique fan bases
As the economic power of minorities has reached an all-time high, diversity in marketing is crucial. Creative partnerships must be inclusive to align with the diverse landscape of consumers. If this is not reflected in the boardroom of a brand then what does that say about their views on inclusion or lack thereof? In Beyonce’s case, those views are, and her own are very progressive as evident by her recent casting of trans-actress, Laverne Cox as the campaign face of her Ivy Park fashion label.
“This is the partnership of a lifetime for me,” Beyoncé said in the same release. “Adidas has had tremendous success in pushing creative boundaries. We share a philosophy that puts creativity, growth and social responsibility at the forefront of business. I look forward to re-launching and expanding Ivy Park on a truly global scale with a proven, dynamic leader.”