A trio of local agencies last week held meetings with officials from Fila USA regarding its footwear, apparel and in-line skate account.
Among the dozen or so contenders for the $15-20 million domestic account are: Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos; Holland Mark Martin Edmund; and Ingalls Advertising, all in Boston, sources said.
Also meeting with client officials were Angotti, Thomas, Hedge and Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, both in New York, as well as Fila roster shop W.B. Doner & Co. in Baltimore, sources said.
A cut to finalists is expected in a couple of weeks, with a final decision to come in May, said sources. Fila officials did not return calls by press time.
Among the local contenders, Hill, Holliday and Ingalls have considerable category experience, having served as lead agencies for Reebok and Converse, respectively. Holland Mark has no experience in the athletic footwear and apparel category.
The winning agency will be asked to launch the GH5, a sneaker to be introduced in the fall and endorsed by professional basketball star Grant Hill. The contenders are being asked to present speculative creative supporting the GH5.
Arnell Group Brand Consulting in New York resigned the Fila account last month to take on the creative chores for Tommy Hilfiger, formerly handled by Toth Design and Advertising in Concord, Mass.
Arnell remains under contract with Hunt Valley, Md.-based Fila through June. The shop's most recent work for the client consisted of four 15-second TV spots touting a line of footwear endorsed by Derek Jeter, the shortstop of the New York Yankees. The ads include the client's long-standing tagline, "Change the game," which was created by Arnell predecessor Foote, Cone & Belding, New York. FCB declined to participate in the current competition.
Fila, which is battling Adidas for third place in the athletic footwear category behind Nike and Reebok, received credentials from more than 100 agencies, sources said.
Last year, Adidas reported net income of $255 million on revenues of $3.6 billion, vaulting past Fila into the No. 3 spot.
Ad spending by Adidas and Fila, both in the $15-20 million range in recent years, lags well behind market leaders Nike and Reebok, which have spent in excess of $200 million and $100 million per year respectively on overall marketing.