Energy BBDO Wins Champion Sportswear Global Creative Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Hanes-owned clothing brand Champion has concluded a competitive review we reported earlier this month by picking Chicago’s Energy BBDO to lead global marketing efforts.

“As Champion continues to grow globally, the authentic athleticwear brand selected Energy BBDO to develop a global campaign for 2020,” said director of brand marketing David Robertson. “This is a new assignment and it does not affect Champion’s U.S. digital agency 360i, or other existing agency relationships.”

Champion managed the review internally. Energy BBDO deferred to the client for comment.


According to past write-ups, London-based Exposure previously handled global communications work for the brand.

As Robertson noted, 360i will remain U.S. AOR for the brand, though sources tell us the Dentsu shop was among those pitching for the global business. McCann also received the RFP but did not participate in the review due to a conflict with Columbia Sportswear. Spokespeople for both agencies declined to comment.

According to another source, at least one agency didn’t participate because the pitch stated that Champion would own all creative ideas from both winners and losers.

Various publications have chronicled Champion’s runaway success in recent years. In a quarterly earnings call earlier this month, Hanes CEO Gerald W. Evans Jr. reported 10 percent growth in organic sales for Champion during Q1, a strong increase from 6 percent growth in the last quarter of 2018.

“Growth initiatives drove a 75 percent increase in constant-currency global Champion sales outside the mass channel with strong double-digit increases in all regions,” the report read. “Contributors included: U.S. expansion across retail and online channels; strong wholesale expansion in northern and western Europe; strong wholesale and consumer-direct growth in Asia, including continued store openings in China and elsewhere; and distribution expansion beginning in Australia.”

In terms of messaging, Champion has moved from being a standard provider of athletic clothing to a cultural staple thanks, in large part, to a slow-growing connection to hip-hop.

On that note, here is a 2018 spot from Australia’s Emotive in which Champion launched “Revealed,” a platform for emerging hip-hop artists on that continent.

While Kantar Media has Champion spending very little on paid media in the U.S., consulting firm R3 estimates the brand’s annual global spend to be around $30 million.