Good afternoon. Here’s a double-post just so we can use this old Getty Images archive picture of Kurt in his Chucks.
Wieden + Kennedy has won Converse after a competitive review, according to our sources over at Adweek. The brand, of course, is owned by Nike, which has a longstanding relationship with the agency.
PR for Converse—which, again, is a subsidiary of Nike and has been since 2003—declined to confirm this fact. But we know the next major Converse campaign you see will come out of W+K Portland.
UPDATE: After initially denying that W+K had won the business or that the company had any news to share whatsoever, a Converse spokesperson later confirmed to AdAge that it is “currently working with Wieden + Kennedy” in a story about the brand promoting former Nike sportswear senior marketing director Sophie Bambuck to CMO at Converse.
Anomaly, which was AOR for Converse for more than a decade, resigned the business and ended its relationship with Nike last month. From COO Karina Wilsher:
“Given the combination of significant changes in Converse personnel and a role across Nike, Inc. that was less central than we’d like, after 10 excellent years, we chose to make ourselves available to other brands.”
She said CEO Carl Johnson made it official in an email to client leads.
So why the split? It’s not clear where Converse wants to go creatively, but given that it is one of Nike’s strongest brands beyond Jordan, we expect the company to aim for a more unified message in order to increase awareness and boost sales.
It’s also worth noting that both Converse and Nike have had leadership changes recently, with Davide Grasso becoming CEO of the former business last year. The parent company has also parted ways with several top executives—including more than one in the marketing department—the wake of an internal investigation first announced in a memo from chairman and CEO Mark Parker just over a month ago.
A follow-up story in The Wall Street Journal reported that Nike cultivated a “boys’ club culture” with a “flawed” HR department that was not receptive to female employees’ complaints.
Does that sound maybe just a little familiar?
Anomaly’s last significant work for Converse was the “Forever Chuck” campaign, which hinted at the brand’s goals by tying the classic sneakers to young stars like Millie Bobby Brown.
The brand will also be releasing a full-length, skating-focused film next month.
Should be interesting to see how Converse plays it.