Since last week, the internet has been buzzing over the rumors of Drake allegedly jumping ship from Nike to Adidas. Although Drake has not confirmed the business move, the question is will this help or hurt Drake’s business ventures? According to Sole Collector, Drake is unhappy with Nike and is looking for a deal that offers “more creative control.” The ‘God’s Plan’ rapper first partnered with the brand in 2013 with several collaborative projects including OVO X Jordan 10 and most recently OVO X Jordan 8. ESPN contributor and Nice Kicks‘ creative director Nick DePaula, also is reporting the negotiation between the rapper and Adidas is close to closing.
Can confirm that Drake and his team are far along in negotiations with Adidas on a comprehensive endorsement deal. More to come… pic.twitter.com/oSyoUSStA2
— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) February 22, 2018
What does it mean for Nike to lose one of their biggest non-athlete endorsers? Well, according to Sports industry analyst Matt Powell, not much. Maybe. See, Powell of the NPD Group has written several times of how high-profile celebrities like Drake actually does nothing in the boosting of sales. In fact, the best-selling shoes for both Nike and Adidas were mid-priced, casual sneakers.
- The Air Jordan VI
- The Air Jordan XI
- The Adidas Tubular Shadow
- The Air Jordan XIII
- Air Jordan IV
- Nike Revolution III
- The Adidas Superstar
- The Nike Air Hurarache
- The Chuck Taylor All Star low
- The Nike Tanjun
Powell considers the celebrity collaborations that these sneaker companies get themselves into as “high-priced” and limited in numbers. “The brands intend for such shoes to give them further hype and credibility within the sneakerhead community,” Powell wrote in an article of the importance of sneakerheads and their influence. But the influence behind these collaborations does not translate well to the broader consumer base. What most consumers want is good products rather than celebrity endorsers. He further explains that because of the limited amount of the celebrity-endorsed sneakers, they become highly desirable. Hence, creating yet another market for sneaker collectors. However, the main question is whether Drake’s departure will hurt the brand? In short, no.
According to Lori Sakany, of Snobette, a lifestyle, and sneaker blog, Nike’s improvement on product and marketing will only prove Drake leaving as a minor matter in part of the company. In actuality, between the collaborations between Virgil Abloh and Fear of God’s creator Jerry Lorenzo, Nike has their hands full. “Between all those projects, the new NBA license and preparation for the World Cup, Nike has enough things working for it that it can take the loss of Drake without missing a step,” Sakany said.
It is safe to say that Drake leaving Nike for Adidas wouldn’t hurt his brand or money neither. In the last year, Drake earned almost $100 million dollars between his endorsements with Nike, Sprite, his tours (summer sixteen, boy meets world) and other endeavors. His Virginia Black Whiskey is also a profitable investment for the Canadian rapper. In 2016, Drake partnered with Brent Hocking, founder, and creator of the original Deleon Tequila company to step into the spirits business and create his own whiskey brand. In January, both Drake and Hockings announced their plans of taking the whiskey company public. By making the company public, investors will buy stocks to raise money to aid in the domestic and international expansion of the whiskey brand. A move that can earn up to 30 million dollars.
If it is the creative freedom that Drake is looking for, then Adidas may just be the choice to make. A few years ago, Kanye West spoke out against the lack of freedom that he once had while collaborating with the Portland footwear giant. Speaking of the aggravation of being marginalized, Kanye spoke candidly of his artistic limitations. Leaving the brand for Adidas, Kanye has since released upward of 20 sneakers for the brand. Supermodel Karlie Kloss also left her position as a brand ambassador for Nike for Adidas. The German company in December released a campaign titled “Calling All Creators” bringing together famous athletes and non-athlete celebrities, showing them sitting around a table to “create” for the brand. A campaign that clearly advocates for creative freedom.
Now, of course, all of this is still hypothetical because Drake has not confirmed his business move. But if for instance, it is true and Drake does join the Adidas family, both him and Nike will be a-okay.