New Balance Eyes Boathouse for Expanded Role

BOSTON Athletic footwear and apparel company New Balance is talking to roster shop Boathouse about taking on an expanded role following the client’s recent decision to pull the creative portion of its $12-15 million ad account from Havas’ Euro RSCG, sources said.

New Balance and Boathouse are discussing ideas for TV and print work expected to break early next year, but the company may also use other resources on a project basis, sources said.

Independent Boathouse of Needham, Mass., already works for New Balance on market research and positioning projects. A client representative said no change in the relationship has been made. Boathouse CEO John Connors did not return calls seeking comment.

Though New York’s Euro RSCG retains the Boston-based client’s online advertising and Web development business, New Balance confirmed that it plans to pull creative from the shop by year’s end and has said it is considering taking the work in house, bringing a smaller shop on board or a combination of the scenarios [Adweek, Aug. 2].

New Balance spent $12 million on ads last year and $8 million through the first seven months of 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Boathouse was launched three years ago by Connors, and it has thrived despite the slow economy, posting 2003 revenue and billings of $12.3 million and $70 million, respectively, a 70 percent improvement over the previous year. Agency clients include Merrill Lynch and recent additions D’Aneglo’s Sandwich Shops and Middlesex Savings Bank.