BBDO Wins New Balance

BOSTON New Balance has selected Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York as its lead agency following a review, the client has confirmed.

BBDO will lead a roster of agencies that also includes Atmosphere BBDO (digital marketing), BBDO Design Works (design) and PHD (media buying and planning).

“New Balance is a brilliant brand, with great people who have great passion,” says John Osborn, president and CEO of BBDO New York. “Many of us at BBDO have had our feet in New Balance products for years, making it all the more rewarding to be able to get our hands on the brand, too. We are looking forward to bringing our passion to bear in taking New Balance to new heights.”

The agency prevailed over these finalists: Havas’ Arnold in Boston; Omnicom’s Element 79 in Chicago; Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York; and independent Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago, sources said.

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., guided the process for the Boston-based client. New Balance has spent $15-20 million annually on ads in recent years, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Boathouse, an independent in Waltham, Mass., has handled the assignment; the shop was invited to defend but withdrew from contention.

The decision to review was driven mainly by changes at New Balance, including the arrival this year of new CEO Rob DeMartini, who is leading a strategic planning process that is looking at all aspects of the company’s business.

This summer, New Balance launched a campaign from independent Almighty in Boston backing its NB ZIP technology. The theme was “Positive energy,” playing off the brand’s larger “Energy in, energy out” message. The effort, which included an offbeat spot in which roadkill is apparently revived via the sneakers, appeared across multiple platforms including the Internet and videogames.

New Balance in February via Boathouse unveiled ads backing a new division called NBx, which also serves as the brand name of a performance footwear collection. Film crews gained insights on runners’ routines by shadowing both men and women to collect footage. The work strove to capture the essence of the dedicated runner and show athletes in real-life situations.

The running shoe category has been especially active of late. Converse recently tapped Anomaly as its new agency, and Puma unveiled dance-themed ads from Tank Design.

This story updates an item posted Oct. 16 with client confirmation and additional details.