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Goodby to Take More Nike Biz?

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is poised to take on even more of Nike’s ad duties in 1998 as the client shifts toward more product-specific advertising from general branding, sources said. Lead shop Wieden & Kennedy handles the bulk of Nike’s branding work.
The shift is prompted by the launch of its Alpha line, which will include the client’s premium products. Alpha will be Nike’s main project for 1998, executives said earlier this year, and will be supported with a “significant” portion of the ad budget, said Chris Zimmerman, ad director for Nike. Alpha is Nike’s first attempt at branding without its swoosh; the Alpha logo consists of five dots.
Nike has already announced that it will change Nike FIT apparel to the Alpha name, and ACG products are expected to follow. Goodby handles both lines. Nike executives recently met at Goodby’s offices here to discuss handling Alpha, sources said. Goodby executives declined comment.
It is unclear what role Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., will play on Alpha. Alpha will include several lines of footwear, which Nike has not yet assigned, sources said. Some sources have speculated that taking on the Alpha line will move Goodby one step closer toward earning all the Nike business. Nike executives said that idea has “no merit.” Wieden officials did not return calls.
Kathryn Reith, Nike’s U.S. corporate communications chief, said, “[Product-specific] advertising is not a new trend for us, and we have always balanced it with our [branding efforts]. We have no specific plans to change that strategy.” –with Terry Lefton