Adidas Again Turns to Burrell for Upcoming Ads

Amid struggles with declining shoe sales and a change in marketing leadership in the U.S., Adidas continues to reach beyond lead agency Leagas Delaney for marketing assistance.

Burrell Communications in Chicago, which won a pitch last December for adidas’ urban basketball category, is handling a national back-to-school campaign slated for late summer. Earlier this year the agency handled U.S.-only TV campaigns for the launch of the client’s Mad Handle basketball shoe and the SLII running shoe. Red Button in Portland, Ore., a small shop operated by an Adidas consultant, is creating the global Kobe Bryant basketball campaign.

Adidas America, based in Portland, has turned its focus to product and retail-oriented advertising, handing out each campaign on a project basis, sources said. The client turned to Burrell last year “in an effort to get closer to the American urban consumer. In the U.S. our products have become more lifestyle oriented. No longer is it enough for a shoe to simply perform well,” a company representative said.

Ad spending in the U.S. last year was $50 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Tim Delaney, creative director of Leagas in London, says Burrell’s emerging role “is not a major shift” for Adidas and that it is common for global assignments to be adjusted to suit particular regions.

Leagas continues to handle all strategic planning and media duties for the client. It shares creative duties for global campaigns with Amsterdam start-up 180. The Adidas representative said her company has “a continued relationship with Leagas as lead agency.”

Separately, John Kajawa was named marketing director of Adidas America effective this week, replacing Jack Buckner, who is retiring.

Industry sources said the Adidas brand is No. 2 behind Nike in the U.S.; the company has had problems in the U.S. with product development and distribution, which new management is seeking to address.