We Hear: ASICS Breaks with 180LA, Puts Its Account in Review

By Patrick Coffee 

The ASICS account is in review.

This week multiple parties close to the matter revealed that the Japan-based sneaker company has launched a creative review. The brand allegedly reached out to new agencies this week and told incumbent 180LA that it will not be invited to defend its business.

MDC Partners’ Vitro won global AOR duties for ASICS back in 2009 and continued to hold that role after the company hired 180 Amsterdam to work on international campaigns in 2011. A global review first reported by Campaign that February ended with AOR status moving to the latter agency.

Vitro continued to work on the North American business but lost a large portion of it early this year due to the client’s desire to put more money into its global work and subsequently ended the relationship altogether. This shift also saw 180LA enter the picture, handling project-based work focused on retail and event marketing. Sources told us at the time that the Los Angeles office had effectively wormed its way into the business, and a client press release from February included this key sentence: “In the future the business will be run out of both 180 offices (LA and Amsterdam).”

That will no longer be the case, though we have yet to clarify whether the current review concerns the global account or only the North American portion.

180LA has declined to comment on the news. ASICS’ global and American PR departments have not responded to multiple emails and phone calls this week. We’ve also reached out to representatives for 180 Amsterdam, which recently hired new creatives to lead the ASICS and Bennetton accounts. They have yet to respond.

According to Kantar Media, ASICS spent approximately $36.5 million on measured media in North America in 2015 but only $5.5 million during the first half of 2016. The 2011 Campaign story listed the value of the global business at 50 million pounds, which translates to approximately $65 million worldwide.

Last December, The New York City Marathon ended its relationship with ASICS after 25 years. New Balance is the race’s new sponsor.