Walton Isaacson Wins Spalding After a Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Spalding, the Russell Brands-owned leader in basketball equipment, has signed L.A.-based Walton Isaacson, or “The Planet’s Most Interesting Agency,” as its new creative AOR after a competitive review.

The client has not retained an agency of record for some time, and WinStanley Partners of Lenox, Massachusetts had been creating its ads on a per-project basis for several years.

That said, it’s true (as Paul Pierce of the Clippers asserts in this 2013 spot) that Spalding has been the only official ball of the NBA/WNBA for quite some time.

But did you know that Spalding is also the top provider of backboards for both professional and college ball–or that it makes baseballs for the Little League World Series and volleyballs for the professional King of the Beach Tour?

The release tells us that the brand wants to expand on its longstanding partnership with pro basketball by creating a “global messaging platform” and running more extensive campaigns.

“Walton Isaacson separated themselves from the competition by delivering strategic thinking that was rooted in consumer insights as well as an innovative creative approach that will break through the clutter,” says the client’s Director of Marketing Kenyatta Bynoe.

EVP and Chief Creative Officer Vida Cornelius cites “Spalding’s vision for building an emotional connection with athletes of all levels who want to play their best game” while co-founder Cory Isaacson says his agency is “extremely excited to be partnering with an iconic brand like Spalding,” adding that his newest client’s appeal “goes beyond flash and fans.”

Walton Isaacson’s work will star both amateur and professional players, including Damian Lillard of the Trail Blazers and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors. Lillard has appeared in ads for Foot Locker, Adidas and EA Sports while DeRozan starred in his own version of Michael Jordan’s “Become Legendary” spot three years ago.

The agency itself most recently scored coverage last month, when it hired Lori Dicker of Weber Shandwick and Adam Callow of Energy BBDO as its senior vice president, head of digital and social and group account director, respectively.

Spalding’s forthcoming campaign will launch in February 2016.