Rebels Get Adidas; Frost Exits Nike; Wieden Rejigs
NEW YORK–There were major shifts among the players competing in the mounting arch rivalry between Adidas and Nike last week.
Adidas tapped Amsterdam-based 180, the new agency being formed by renegade Wieden & Kennedy staffers, for still-to-be-determined global branding assignments. In addition, Carat was named Adidas’ media buying agency in Europe, replacing Initiative Media, Paris. Leagas Delaney, Adidas’ agency of six years, continues as the company’s lead shop and media buying resource in the U.K.
At Adidas, the mandate for 180 is larger than originally thought. “The agency will develop creative for potential worldwide usage,” said representative Peter Csanadi. “The U.S. may even use it.”
The agency, founded by Wieden’s former Nike account executive Chris Mendola, account planner Alex Melvin and creative director Larry Frey, has yet to hire staff. Mendola played down the controversy stirred by the trio’s discussions with Adidas while working on Nike [Adweek, Aug. 24]. “I grew up wearing [Adidas’] three stripes. All my sports heroes wore them, all the great soccer players. I feel honored to build up the brand.”
At Nike, Geoffrey Frost, the company’s director of global advertising, resigned unexpectedly. Sources believe he grew tired of dealing with Nike’s downward spiral in recent months; others claim Frost never adjusted to Nike’s corporate culture.
Frost was responsible for hiring Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Nike executives said they are “extremely pleased” with GS&P and Wieden, and that no changes will result from Frost’s departure.
Agencies may stand to net even more business under a Nike proposal to reallocate as much as $100 million from its sports marketing endorsement budget to advertising and marketing efforts.
Meanwhile, Wieden last Friday unveiled a global restructuring, establishing five independently managed regional offices reporting to a global leadership team in Portland, Ore., led by agency head Dan Wieden. Other members of the team are Dave Luhr, chief operating officer, Chris Riley, chief strategy officer, Mike Yonker, chief financial officer, and Thom Walter, director of organizational development. Now heading the Portland office are Bill Davenport, managing director, and Jim Riswold, creative director. Ben Kline, who previously headed the Nike global account, becomes director of account services. In addition, Michael Prieve, formerly of Microsoft, joins Stacy Wall as co-creative director in New York.
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