Team Detroit Adds Warrior Sports

NEW YORK What began as a brand assessment and gave rise to a Web video project has turned into another lead agency relationship for Team Detroit, the WPP Group shop whose core business is Ford.

The new client is Warrior Sports, a Warren, Mich.-based subsidiary of New Balance that sells sticks, pads and apparel for lacrosse, ice hockey, field hockey and soccer.

Launched in 1993 as a lacrosse gear maker, Warrior has since branched out into other sports and was acquired by New Balance in 2004. Its primary targets are athletes, athletic departments and sports leagues.

Team Detroit — a roll-up of six WPP shops in Dearborn, Mich., that includes JWT, Wunderman and MindShare — will handle creative and media duties on Warrior, which plans to increase its marketing spend. Billings were not disclosed, but sources pegged them at as much as $20 million.

Warrior previously used independent Core, St. Louis, for creative duties. It spent less than $1 million in media last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The business shifted without a review.

“As we grow our brand internationally, it made sense to select an agency with a global network in our own backyard,” said David Morrow, Warrior’s president. “We need an agency with all the marketing tools and capabilities under one roof.”

The new agency will focus on Warrior’s namesake and Brine brands. Its first campaign — a mixture of TV, print, online and in-store ads — is expected in the spring. The shop also will redesign Brine’s Web site. Group director Brad Audet is managing the account.

Warrior is among several non-Ford related clients that Team Detroit has added this year, and arrives as the shop — and industry — braces for fallout from the car industry’s precipitous financial decline. The shop’s other clients include White Castle, Compuware and Barnes & Noble.