Crispin’s Nike Loss Is Wieden’s Gain

NEW YORK MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Nike have split up after slightly more than a year together, and the work handled by Crispin is shifting to the athletic footwear giant’s longtime lead agency, Wieden + Kennedy, the client has confirmed.

A Crispin representative said the companies “parted ways” and provided a brief statement from shop CEO Jeff Hicks, who said: “We will forever be in awe of the company that is Nike and wish them nothing but the best.”

Neither Crispin nor Nike elaborated on why the relationship ended. Wieden could not immediately be reached for comment.

News of the split was first  reported by the industry blog Adscam/The Horror.

Miami-based Crispin was hired in April 2007 to handle the company’s global running-shoe account, as well as its Nike+ and Nike ID Web site businesses.

The running-shoe work had been at Wieden + Kennedy, the Portland, Ore.-based agency that had long been Nike’s primary creative resource. (R/GA’s duties on Nike ID and Nike+, which include site design and implementation, were not affected by Crispin’s hire last year.)

Crispin’s portion of the business is estimated at $50 million.

Nike spends more than $200 million annually in traditional domestic media, per Nielsen Monitor Plus. Global figures were not immediately available.

Crispin’s first work for the athletic apparel and footwear company broke last December in the form of a 60-second Nike+ running spot. That commercial celebrated running in bold imagery  that included shots of a caveman, ancient Romans and a Native American in doeskin boots — ending with a bunch of runners crashing through a contemporary gym wall.

At the time, Adweek advertising critic Barbara Lippert said of the effort: “This first salvo is definitely a look-up-and-pay-close attention experience, complete with Q&A. And it works.”

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