Adidas’ Jon Wexler On What’s Wrong With the Influencer Market + His Go-To Kicks

Jon Wexler is an expert on all things celebrity and influencer — and he’s watched the game change dramatically over the past few years.

Adidas’ longtime VP of global entertainment and influencer marketing was a guest on the live Souler Stories podcast this week in New York, and spent some time with FN before the conversation.

Here, Wexler sounds off on celebrity strategies that are working, how the influencer market has become saturated and the kicks he travels with.

How has the influencer game changed in the past few years?

“Right now, it’s about authenticity of microinfluencers. Marketing has really evolved over the last 3 to 5 years because of the way that social media has forced it to. It made people smarter and sharper.”

How do you define a microinfluencer in terms of follower count?

“It could be five. To me, it’s about people who are being true to what their passion and focus is. Right now you have a lot of people who are getting exposed for the for hire side of what influencer marketing became over the last five years, but what is resonating are people who are actually doing it in a true, passionate and fun way. Just people who made it true to who they are instead of doing it for a lack of purpose.”

Smoke Dza Mike Camargo Upscale Vandal Tamara Dhia Anna Bediones Russ Bengtson Francy Bernard Sneaker Influencers
(L to R): FN influencer cover stars Smoke Dza, Mike “Upscale Vandal” Camargo, Tamara Dhia, Anna Bediones, Russ Bengtson and Francy Bernard.
CREDIT: Kate Owen

What are the common problems with influencer and celebrity marketing?

“It’s the same thing as the music industry or anything else that has evolved over the last five years, there’s so much access that everyone can do it. Much like your job, it’s the same thing. Not credibly, but anybody with a Twitter account can be a journalist now. Anyone with a Twitter account could be an influencer as well, but it’s the people who do it right and go narrow and deep — and provide as much info and insight as possible — that people will hopefully gravitate toward, quality over quantity.”

What’s the secret to getting it right?  

“It’s best to do something really well than to try to do anything half-a**ed. The best strategy executed in not a full way is way worse than a strategy that you’re not necessarily thrilled about — but you execute the s**t out of it. Right now you have a lot of brands trying to enter this space playing the same old formula. I think people are looking for someone to come in and shake up the industry.”

Not being an entertainer yourself, did you ever think your own style would be so interesting to people? 

“It’s interesting because a lot of people go to my social media accounts because they think I’m an aggregator of sneaker information. But that’s awesome, it’s really cool that people want to look at what I’m presenting as an option for themselves — and then it drives some type of desirability. I definitely am thoughtful about showing as diverse of a product mix from the brand as I can.”

What are your go-to travel sneakers?

“Right now, they are the Wave Runners. They’re my favorite Yeezy to date and they’re super easy to wear, they go with everything. And I’ve been wearing a lot of the Pharrell Hu product and Yung-1s. Those are the three in my main rotation right now. And then the Futurecraft stuff is creeping in as well. They’re all light and easy to wear.”

Adidas Yeezy Wave Runner 700
Adidas Yeezy Wave Runner 700
CREDIT: Adidas

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