Leagas Expects To Ride Out Adidas Changes

Leagas Delaney, lead agency for Adidas-Salomon America, is not expected to experience any immediate changes on the account despite slowing sales at the company and the resignation of president and CEO Steve Wynne.
The San Francisco agency has more than four Adidas campaigns in the works, and the client does “not plan any interruption in operations,” said Adidas representative John Freadman. Billings are estimated at $40-50 million.
The shop is in the middle of its “Long Live Sport” corporate image effort, the first general branding initiative in the U.S. for the footwear and apparel company. It is also working on a print campaign for this summer’s Olympic Games, a TV and print effort for soccer due to break next month and an international campaign for basketball.
Wynne, 47, joined Adidas in 1995 and led a turnaround at the company, whose U.S. market share in the category more than doubled from 1997 to 1998. By early 1999, the brand had overtaken Reebok for the No. 2 spot, behind Nike. The growth spurt leveled off in mid-1999, as sneaker sales slowed overall, and the company has predicted North American sales will drop an estimated 10 percent in 2000.
“Steve [Wynne] believes it is time for another leader with a different skill set to take things from here,” said Freadman.
Leagas’ London headquarters handles advertising for parent company Adidas-Solomon AG. During Wynne’s tenure, the agency opened the San Francisco office to better service the business in the U.S. and provide more creative firepower.
In November, Wynne told Brandweek that Leagas’ creative was “consistently good, but not dead-on yet.”
Wynne will remain in charge in the U.S. for at least a month until a replacement is found. Herbert Hainer, deputy chairman of Adidas-Salomon AG, will also step in during the transition period. –with Terry Lefto