Adidas adds risk by tripping over its sneakers

The new NMD model is pictured at the flagship store in Berlin
The new Adidas NMD model is pictured at the flagship store in Berlin, Germany, January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Adidas (ADSGn.DE) is having a hard time keeping its feet out of its mouth. On Wednesday, the $28 billion sneaker maker withdrew a trademark objection to Black Lives Matter over its use of three stripes in its logo 48 hours after filing it. The organisation, born out of protest against violence on the Black community in the U.S., is using a logo that closely resembles Adidas’s own famed trademark.

The timing of Adidas’s objection looks tin-eared. New Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden is still grappling with the fallout of its breakup with the musician formerly known as Kanye West and employee complaints about racism. It also comes just one day after the Wall Street Journal reported that Adidas ended a partnership arrangement with Beyoncé, one of the most popular musicians in the world. Gulden also missed an opportunity to mend its brand. It could have devised a partnership arrangement with Black Lives Matter that featured both brands. This would have sent a signal to its customers and investors that it understands the importance of diversity. Trying to pick a fight with an organisation popular with young consumers shows that Adidas’s biggest risk is its mouth. (By Aimee Donnellan)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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