Shoe companies, like Adidas, know the value of not completely alienating a certain portion of their potential customer base just to score social justice points. Nike's "Just Do It" anniversary ad campaign featuring unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick is one way to chase away potential consumers of your brand.
Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted sat down with CNBC’s Sara Eisen on Tuesday to talk about the progress his company has been making recently. Among the topics talked about were Kanye West’s involvement with Adidas and Nike’s ad campaign that features Kaepernick.
Rorsted told Eisen that while he thinks Nike made a good move based on their views, his company holds a “different view” about the impact the Nike ad campaign made.
“I think uniting people is immensely important,” Rorsted said. “I think it was a good move they made. We have a different view, but we think it was a good view they had. We think that the more we can unite people through sport, the better it is. We need to unite a society, not separate a society.”
As a businessman, what Rorsted is basically saying here is that what Nike might perceive as good for their company, he doesn’t perceive as good for Adidas. As a slightly smaller worldwide shoe company compared to Nike, Rorsted understands that making a move that could push away potential customers isn’t always a good business move.
Eisen then followed up by asking Rorsted whether or not he would hired Kaepernick.
“I can’t say we would have done it,” Rorsted answered. “But I think it is important to have a point of view. We have a point of view on many things, as our competitors have, and I think it’s good to have a point of view.”
For those playing the home game, what Rorsted said amounted to a neutral political answer where he said a lot without saying much at all. But, I think that’s a good tactic.
What might be good for Nike isn’t necessarily good for everyone. Rorsted’s acknowledgement of a free flow of ideas isn’t a bad thing, though.
Maybe that’s why President Trump-visiting hip-hop mogul Kanye West has his own line with Adidas.
You can watch Rorsted’s interview with Eisen below: