Reebok Is Seeking a New Global Creative Agency of Record

The brand will split with Venables Bell & Partners

The account has been with VB&P since 2014. Getty Images
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Reebok has launched a global creative agency review in its latest effort to shake up its marketing around the world. The company will end its relationship with Venables Bell & Partners, which has been creative AOR since winning the business away from DDB in 2014.

The news comes eight months after Melanie Boulden joined as vp of global marketing from Crayola to lead the company’s strategy and execution worldwide. Reebok’s parent company, Adidas, then chose Mediacom as its global media agency of record, ending a nearly 20-year relationship with Carat.

“We recently made the mutual decision with Reebok to part ways as their AOR,” said VB&P managing director and partner Kate Jeffers. “We’re very proud of the work we’ve done together over the past five years. We will continue our relationship until July 2019, delivering the global campaigns for 2019 and helping to transition their new AOR.”

It is not yet clear whether VB&P will continue working with Adidas in any capacity after the contract ends. A client spokesperson declined to comment for this story, and VB&P did not elaborate beyond Jeffers’ statement.

A source close to the business said Reebok has already chosen the finalists in the review and hopes to make a decision in early 2019. The names of the agencies, as well as that of any consultancy that may be overseeing the process, are unclear.

CEO Kasper Rorsted of Adidas, which acquired Reebok in 2005 for just under $4 billion, has publicly broadcast his plans to make the long-struggling company profitable by 2020. On the marketing side, this plan involves more aggressively targeting stylish, fitness-conscious female consumers.

In its recent efforts, the brand has largely turned to star athletes and influencers like Gigi Hadid, who led the recent “Be More Human” campaign.

This marks a significant turn away from work like VB&P’s “25,915 Days,” which dramatically tracked the events of one female runner’s life in reverse. (The title was a reference to the average human lifespan.)

As part of its push into lifestyle marketing as a challenger brand to far larger names like Nike, Reebok has recently signed or expanded deals with the UFC, Les Mills, Spartan Race and CrossFit, and its product offerings have changed to include lines like the PureMove Sports Bra.

Reebok spent just under $18 million on paid media in the U.S. in 2017, according to Kantar Media. International consultancy R3 estimates its annual global budget at approximately $80 million.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.