MNH, BDDP Emerge as Comfortable Fit for Fila

NEW YORK-The smoke has finally cleared after an interagency shootout among several Omnicom Group shops for a piece of the global sneaker business.
Fila Holding S.p.A. has awarded its global advertising account to
the U.S.-European team of Merkley Newman Harty in New York and BDDP@TBWA, Paris, sources said. Billings are estimated at $60-70 million. Leo Burnett, Chicago, was the incumbent for the U.S. portion of
the account.
The client went into review in October with a list of five agencies, including J. Walter Thompson and Euro RSCG Worldwide. Last month, the list was cut to a pair of finalists-the winning team and BBDO Worldwide, which partnered with sister agency D’Adda Lorenzini Vigorelli in Milan, a Fila roster shop.
Fila is based in Biella, Italy, and its CEO, Michele Scannavini, a
former executive at Ferrari and Procter & Gamble, led the review, conducting briefings with agencies at Fila offices in Sparks, Md., as well as in Biella.
One source said agency briefings were confusing because Fila officials in the U.S. and Italy did not seem to be on the same page.
Fila manufactures sneakers and athletic apparel, and in the past has employed different shops in the U.S. and Europe, including Italy’s DLV and Euro RSCG, which handled the brand in France.
Leo Burnett resigned the U.S. portion of the business in August, more than a year since landing the account. At the time, Burnett cited “philosophical differences.”
The domestic account was billed as $20 million at the time of
Burnett’s win, but Fila spent only $5 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.
Sources said that the current $60-70 million budget is based on a consolidated global assignment.
Merkley Newman Harty referred calls to the client, which could not be reached. But sources said Fila was in final contract negotiations with Merkley and BDDP. An announcement could be made as soon as
this week.
Since the final pitch in November, the client has met three times with the Merkley/BDDP team, said sources.
“A complicated global alignment like this takes a little time to work out,” a source said, “even after the beauty contest is over.” K