Adidas and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park: What went wrong? And a look into Celebrity-Backed Brands in South Africa - Successes and Failures
By Lindelwa Masuku
Adidas and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park, a collaborative fashion line, has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. According to the Wall Street Journal, Adidas is set to lose a staggering $200 million on the project this year.
The sales of Ivy Park have plummeted by over 50%, taking in only $40 million as compared to $93 million in 2021. This drastic drop in sales has raised questions about the partnership and what went wrong.
One possible explanation for the decline in sales is the reported disagreements between Adidas and Beyoncé’s team over how to label and market the products.
The Wall Street Journal stated that Adidas was pushing more of its branding, while Beyoncé’s team wanted the products to focus on Ivy Park.
This conflict may have led to a lack of clarity in the marketing and branding, which may have resulted in consumers not being able to connect with the product.
Another issue could be the timing of the launch. Ivy Park’s late 2021 and 2022 collections were released amid the looming aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, where people’s spending habits had changed drastically, leading to a shift in fashion trends.
This may have affected the line’s sales, as people may have been more focused on purchasing practical items than fashion.
Furthermore, some critics have pointed out that the latest Ivy Park collection lacked innovation and creativity, and the designs were not as exciting as previous collections. This may have led to a lack of interest from consumers, leading to a decline in sales.
Beyoncé’s fans also took to social media to express why they think Ivy Park isn’t quite hitting the mark this time around, with some saying that Beyoncè is elusive, and her being the face of Ivy Park means that she’d have to be 'omnipresent', and knowing her and how she values leading a private life, she’s not willing to open herself up like that.
Others say that the brand alignment is off, stating that when they think of Beyoncè as a brand, their initial thought is not ‘Athleisure’ but it’s more the opulence side of things, luxury bags, gowns, and jewellery.
While the Ivy Park project may be facing challenges, there are local South African brands/businesses started by celebrities that are thriving. These brands are a testament to the potential for successful ventures that showcase African talent.
House of BNG by Bonang Matheba
One such example is House of BNG by Bonang Matheba, a popular South African media personality. The sparkling wine brand has become a sensation in the country and has received international recognition.
Bonang's marketing strategies and personal brand played a significant role in the success of this venture.
BT Signature by Boity Thulo
Another thriving brand is BT Signature by media personality, rapper, and actress Boity Thulo—a range of premium, superior-tasting alcoholic and non-alcoholic sparkling fruit beverages created for individuals also making their mark on the world.
THEBE MAGUGU by designer Thebe Magugu
Another brand that has seen tremendous success is THEBE MAGUGU, founded by designer Thebe Magugu. The brand showcases contemporary South African fashion designs that have gained international recognition and have been worn by high-profile personalities.
However, not all local celebrity brands have been successful. One such example is MD Body SA by Minnie Dlamini, a skincare company that was launched in 2019. The business struggled to maintain momentum and eventually closed down.
MD Body SA by Minnie Dlamini
The Adidas and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park project’s poor sales could be attributed to a combination of factors such as poor marketing, lack of innovation, and unfavourable timing.
While there are successful celebrity brands in South Africa, some have not fared well. It is essential to learn from both the successes and failures of these ventures to create sustainable and successful businesses.