Shuffling Feet Heard At Nike, Adidas, Wieden

There were major shifts last week among the players competing in the mounting arch rivalry between Adidas and Nike.
Adidas tapped Amsterdam-based 180, a new agency formed by renegade Wieden & Kennedy staffers, for still-to-be-determined global branding assignments. Also, Carat was named Adidas’ media buying agency in Europe, replacing Initiative Media, Paris. Leagas Delaney, Adidas’ agency of six years, remains its lead shop and media buying resource in the U.K.
The mandate for 180 is larger than first thought. “The agency will develop creative for potential worldwide usage,” said Adidas 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. “I feel honored to build up the brand,” Mendola said.
Separately, Geoffrey Frost, Nike director of global advertising, resigned unexpectedly last week. Some sources said Nike’s downward spiral was to blame; others said Frost never adjusted to Nike’s corporate culture. Nike said no agency changes are planned.
Shops may 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.
Last Friday, meanwhile, Wieden unveiled a global restructuring, with five independently managed regional offices reporting to a global leadership team in Portland, Ore., led by agency head Dan Wieden. Other team members 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 managing director Bill Davenport and creative director Jim Riswold. 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.