(From Billboard Magazine, November 2, 2013) Adidas shoe and clothing brand developed a new position in 2009 called the Global Director of Entertainment and Influencer Marketing. Since the position got started, the brand has been partnering with artists to market their shoes and clothing. Adidas used to primarily use hip-hop artists but has recently begun expanding their campaign to other genres such as rap and pop. The brand, which used to be primarily athlete based, knows how important partnerships can be with these popular artists and athletes. The company is helping artists, such as Justin Bieber and Big Sean, market their music and tours. When they feature artists, they also license their music. Adidas Director of Entertainment, Jon Wexler, says, “There are a lot of one-way streets in working with the entertainment industry, but we like to have reciprocal relationships.”
The marketing agents and managers for the artists say the Adidas campaign really increased sales while the ads ran. One artist, Big Sean, has even designed his own shoes for Adidas, Pro Model I and II. While this was only experimental for the rapper and only 300 pairs of shoes were produced, fans were very receptive. The shoes were all sold in a few days, and they sold on eBay for thousands of dollars. While this artist designed shoes for Adidas, others have joined together to create a new song celebrating the new Adidas clothing line. The song, “Unite All Originals,” is a collaboration between Run and D.M.C with producer A-Trak. That wasn’t the first song they wrote about the brand; “My Adidas” was a 1986 hit song they wrote without any solicitation or funding from Adidas. The company is not the only brand helping musicians to further their careers; other brands such as Converse, a Nike subsidiary, have also been active in supporting up and coming artists.