New Balance Ends Its Relationship With Arnold Worldwide After 6 Years

By Patrick Coffee 

Sneaker brand New Balance and Havas’ Arnold Worldwide have decided to go their separate ways after six years together.

Arnold won the global AOR business back in 2010 based, at least in part, on its relationship with New Balance CEO Robert DeMartini, who worked with the agency while at Tyson Foods and Gilette. The New York offices of BBDO and Mother had previously handled the business.

In 2012, the client expanded its relationship with Arnold by picking the agency’s Toronto office as its Canadian agency of record.


An Arnold rep said, “New Balance has decided to move towards greater consolidation across their roster of agencies. Our engagement with them will be completed at the end of June. We’ve had a great six year partnership, and wish them the best of luck.”

The pair came together last summer for “The Storm,” an anthem spot that aimed to highlight the brand’s move beyond footwear with the help of some 17 professional athletes. On that work, as on most global campaigns, Arnold’s Boston office played lead.

“New Balance is extremely proud of the six years of excellent work that Arnold has done on our behalf,” said client rep Amy Dow. “As a global brand, we are evaluating our future agency structure and reviewing our portfolio.”

Client and agency both declined to give a reason for the move, but New Balance has been releasing new sneaker models and experimenting with customizable 3D printing as it aims to increase its share of the global athletic wear market. (It’s currently a private company, so it does not reveal finances or related data.)

The client has worked with a variety of agencies on recent projects, picking London indie shop ZAK to lead its entry into the European football market last summer. Sources tell us that ZAK has inherited the entire global account from Arnold, though client reps did not address our queries regarding potential reviews and future campaigns.

After spending $25 million on paid media in the U.S. in 2014, the client boosted its total to $29 million in the first nine months of 2015, according to Kantar Media.