Nike Will Look Beyond Wieden

SAN FRANCISCO Nike, looking to expand its current agency roster, is “going through the informal process of evaluating the different talent out there and reviewing organizations,” according to a company representative.

The first piece of business likely to be up for grabs, sources said, is the client’s U.S. running shoe account, currently handled by Wieden + Kennedy.

The Nike rep, Dean Stoyer, would not discuss potential contenders or assignments. But sources said that on Friday Nike informed Wieden, the client’s primary agency for 24 years, that the running shoe account would be put into review. Spending is undisclosed.

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which has been in talks with Nike for months, is said to be a likely contender for the business. While one source said the account is already headed to the Miami-based MDC Partners shop, the Nike rep said, “No decision is imminent to give a piece of business to any agency.”

He added: “There is no timetable. This is not necessarily a formal RFP process the way the industry does it [a lineup of agencies coming and sitting down at the table]. This is the Nike review process. We do it our way.”

Wieden referred questions to the client.

In the U.S., Nike has worked almost exclusively with Wieden for decades. In 1995, the client appointed Leap Partnership in Chicago to handle creative assignments for its Niketown chain of retail stores, and in 1997 it awarded an estimated $50 million in business to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, including the Niketown work, without a review.

The rep added: “Nike continues to work with Wieden, our longtime creative partner, as one of the primary agencies working on Nike advertising. Nike works with a variety of agencies all around the world. Nike has always looked to a variety of partners in various areas…to keep things fresh and on the cutting edge. As our business grows, our brand communications must also continue to evolve to meet an increasingly challenging marketplace.”