Wieden fires staff in Adidas furore

By HARRIET GREEN, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 28 August 1998 12:00AM

Wieden & Kennedy, Nike’s main advertising agency, has fired two senior executives from its Amsterdam office after it emerged they were working on a new-business pitch for Nike’s arch-rival, Adidas.

Wieden & Kennedy, Nike’s main advertising agency, has fired two

senior executives from its Amsterdam office after it emerged they were

working on a new-business pitch for Nike’s arch-rival, Adidas.



Adidas launched the pitch to find additional creative agencies to work

alongside its incumbent, Leagas Delaney, in June (Campaign, 26

June).



The pitch is being run by Neil Simpson, Adidas’s global advertising

director.



Chris Mendola, the Amsterdam office’s account director on Nike, and Alex

Melvin, a planning director, were dismissed last week. Liz Hartge, a

spokeswoman for W&K Portland, Oregon, confirmed that the two executives

had left the company. ’They no longer work at Wieden & Kennedy,’ she

said.



A source close to the business said that Dan Wieden, W&K’s president,

who has been based at the Amsterdam office for the past week, became

aware of the pair’s counter activities after being alerted by staff in

the creative department.



It is still unclear whether Mendola and Melvin were formally approached

by Adidas or if they were working on the pitch without its

knowledge.



It is understood they intended to set up their own agency if they won

the business.



Both Wieden and Simpson were travelling as Campaign went to press.

Claire Dobbie, Nike’s advertising manager in the UK, did not return

telephone calls.



Agencies pitching for the Adidas business have yet to be revealed.

Simpson said in June that he had shortlisted five agencies: two in the

UK and one each in Spain, France and Holland.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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