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A Wall Street Journal Reporter Set Matt Powell Straight and He Ignored Her

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Matt Powell is the sage of the sneaker industry. The amount of data the NPD Group accumulates is the primary source of information for news reporters around the world when it comes to footwear sales in the U.S.

Over the years Powell has utilized his platform to disseminate information on the rankings and growth of footwear companies. Want to know the top selling shoe at retail? Powell has that list. Want to know who made the greatest gains at retail in the last year? Powell has that list. In the sneakerhead world Powell is notorious for initiating “troll” sessions.

His catch all phrase when approached by fans of adidas and Yeezy is that “Kanye isn’t the reason for the success of adidas because the data doesn’t tell that story.” He doesn’t justify his statement because according to the data selling 10,000 means very little to shareholders. The obvious retort by fans of Yeezy and adidas is that Powell is a “hater” to keep it short.

Today something different happened. I have been saying for a long time that Powell can be proven wrong simply by analyzing articles where high level adidas execs had given credit to Kanye. I even took the time to write some of these articles on the site. I will post more links to the bottom of this page:

The Stan Smith – Marketing or Product? | via Bloomberg

Why is Cristiano Ronaldo’s Social Media Presence Worth 1 Billion to Nike?

Like I said, today things changed. A highly respected Wall Street Journal reporter placed Matt Powell in check

Sara Germano responded to what was basically a veiled insult shot towards a Yeezy supporter who questioned Powell. Powell responded with the above statement and … well you can read above. She was dead right.

I took the time to search for Kanye’s appearance in the reports that Matt Powell claims Kanye never shows up in and the result is interesting:

From adidas’ Corporate Strategy:

recognising the influence, success and global brand power that began almost two years ago with YEEZY for adidas Originals, we announced an unprecedented new alliance in 2016 with adidas + Kanye West, a YEEZY branded entity creating footwear, apparel and accessories for both genders across street and sport. The partnership – the most significant collaboration between a non-athlete and an athletic brand so far – aims at redefining the future of sport by uniting the technical, innovative expertise and capabilities of the adidas brand with the visionary imagination of Kanye West.

From Kasper Rorsted on Kanye West:

  • On West’s health: “From a business standpoint, we’re extremely happy with the relationship. To his health, I think you need to speak to his manager.”
  • On West being “notoriously difficult” in his relationship with Nike: “He has brought a lot of innovation into our products and newness, and i actually think the line in front of the store has proven the value he’s provided our relationship so we haven’t seen it that way.”

From Herbert Hainer prior to Kasper Rorsted:

Adidas’ chief executive Herbert Hainer, speaking on an analyst call today (3 March), said: “The collaboration with Kanye has elevated our brand perception in the US and beyond. It has really set the stage for strong double digit growth for 2016.

From Herbert Hainer 2016 Q1

To your second question, that refers to the US business: I think there is not only one specific
thing which is helping us to get this momentum in the US. It’s a variety of initiatives, which we
have taken, starting one and a half years ago with changing the management, with putting a
new strategy in place, then investing more in the market. You heard it during the last year when
we were talking about Aaron Rodgers, James Harden, and Kanye West as well as Pharrell

Now there aren’t three dozen times that the quarterly reports mention Kanye West. The reality is that Matt Powell is right when he says there were a number of factors that don’t include Kanye. You can browse through three years of reports and only find Kanye mentioned as it relates to the US and only when questions are initiated. West really doesn’t factor into the incredible growth by adidas when you take into consideration the importance of BOOST and brand alliances abroad, but there is no doubt whatsoever that adidas brass finds West a valuable asset which is in complete contradiction to Matt Powell’s insistence that Kanye has not been influential.

This is a back and forth that doesn’t need to exist anymore, but it will because sneakerheads fail to understand that Matt Powell doesn’t work in marketing. He works with data as it relates to trends and predictions. Marketing can’t be quantified, but any reasonable person understands that without marketing a great product remains unknown in most instances.