Adidas names start-up as second-string global creative agency

- Adidas has appointed the Amsterdam-based creative start-up, 180, launched this month by a trio of former Wieden and Kennedy executives, as its second-string global creative agency.

- Adidas has appointed the Amsterdam-based creative start-up, 180, launched this month by a trio of former Wieden and Kennedy executives, as its second-string global creative agency.

Neil Simpson, Adidas's global advertising director, kicked off the creative pitch in June (Campaign, 26 June). He has spoken to a number of agencies around the world over the past four months including the UK-based Circus and BMP DDB. Leagas Delaney, Adidas's lead agency also made a presentation.

180 is run by Alex Melvin, Chris Mendola, and Larry Frey, a planner, account director and art director respectively. All three have worked on high-profile accounts such as Nike and Coca-Cola.

Melvin and Mendola were fired from W&K after allegedly working on the Adidas pitch whilst at the agency (Campaign, 28 August). W&K handles arch rival Nike's account. Frey most recently worked at W&K Tokyo.

Simpson said: "We are not looking to replace Leagas Delaney but to add resource. Leagas Delaney chose to present to us. We learnt two things in this process: firstly we already have a highly creative agency in Leagas Delaney. Secondly we have found another agency with a strong understanding and passion for the Adidas brand in 180."

Melvin said: "The three of us planned for some time to form our own agency. There is a massive opportunity for an agency that does work for the world. The best way of solving problems is not as a traditional multinational network but with multicultural teams. We are absolutely delighted to find a client of the quality of Adidas."

Simpson has yet to determine what 180's initial project will be.

British-born Melvin started in the business in 1983 at Allen Brady and Marsh. The two Americans, Mendola and Frey, started out in 1988 at Chiat/Day and in 1981 at Ayer respectively.

At the same time, the sports company has pooled its continental European media buying into Carat after a separate four-way pitch involving MindShare, Optimedia and the incumbent in most territories, Initiative Media. Leagas Delaney and New PHD retain the UK business.

Simpson said the decision to appoint Carat had not been based on buying clout alone. "They showed they had the buying power, but they also showed a good feeling for sport. It's not just about buying space, it's about buying sport."



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