Case Title: Adidas Says BYE: Adidas Drops Partnership with YE

Submitted by: Valeria Ruiz, Marina Rutter, Jarriae Anderson

School: DePaul University

Faculty Advisor: Matt Ragas

With great power comes great responsibility. Celebrities have become modern-day superheroes, and because of the great public trust in celebrity endorsements, they have an undeniable influence on consumer behavior. Celebrities were influencers before 'influencer' became a job title. Brands realized the benefit of working with celebrities, and these partnerships have grown exponentially with the rise of social media and influencer culture. Although celebrity collaborations can be lucrative for some brands, such partnerships also have the potential to become a liability. This became a reality for Adidas when its long-term partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, came to an end following multiple antisemitic comments made by the star. Adidas faced severe backlash from its internal and external stakeholders due to its initial silence and a significant financial loss after ending the partnership. This case study examines Adidas' crisis management through an ESG lens and uncovers the risks and challenges of celebrity collaborations.

Note: Teaching notes will be made available to faculty upon request.

2024 Student Case Study Competition

Page, in alliance with the Institute for Public Relations, conducts an annual competition for the writing of original case studies by students enrolled in a school of business, communication or journalism and who are pursuing a degree that is focused on corporate communications and the practice of public relations. The objectives of the competition are to introduce practical applications of the core principles that define corporate communication as a critical function of management to educators, teachers and students, and encourage research that contributes to the profession's body of knowledge and provide practical suggestions for improving the corporate communications function. Student authors of winning entries and their faculty advisors are awarded cash prizes and recognized by the nation's leading corporate communications executives.

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The grand prize winner receives the Jack Koten Case Study Award, named in honor of John A. "Jack" Koten, one of the founding members of the Arthur W. Page Society and its first president.