CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE; Leagas Delaney’s Adidas success is a model for us all

To San Francisco last week for the Leagas Delaney launch party. Bruce Haines said he suspected no-one here believed the agency had really set up over there, and they had just two men and a pair of Adidas trainers. Well, it is there, honest; the first UK agency (along with M&C Saatchi) to open up in the US for 20 years. If you must know, the last to do so was KLP. It led indirectly to that agency’s demise as the New York employees ran off with its business. Little chance of that happening with Adidas.

To San Francisco last week for the Leagas Delaney launch party. Bruce

Haines said he suspected no-one here believed the agency had really set

up over there, and they had just two men and a pair of Adidas trainers.

Well, it is there, honest; the first UK agency (along with M&C Saatchi)

to open up in the US for 20 years. If you must know, the last to do so

was KLP. It led indirectly to that agency’s demise as the New York

employees ran off with its business. Little chance of that happening

with Adidas.



In time-honoured tradition, Adidas asked Leagas Delaney to open up the

office. It did so first in Portland, Oregon, Adidas’s US HQ. However,

Leagas Delaney, encouraged by Adidas (Robert Louis Dreyfus, the former

Saatchi and Saatchi boss who now runs Adidas, sounds like a dream

client), chose not to stay in the Nike-dominated town, but to strike out

on its own - something Bartle Bogle Hegarty will consider carefully,

making the likelihood of it setting up in Levi’s hometown, San

Francisco, less likely than New York. Now the agency, with its 15 full-

time staffers, has already won its first domestic account - California’s

second-largest vineyard.



I tell you this not merely because I enjoyed my first visit to

California, but because the mood of the launch party was genuinely

different to that currently in London. The great and the good of Goodby

Silverstein and the rest of the booming San Francisco advertising scene

were out in force. They were all genuinely excited that Leagas Delaney

had chosen their city in which to start up. The spirit of camaraderie

felt much more like London than New York. The argument was that if an

agency with a reputation for creative excellence as high as Leagas

Delaney’s arrived in town and was seen to be succeeding, it made their

own selling proposition easier, despite the risk that it might steal

some of their prospective business.



Leagas Delaney’s reputation, it seems, is more ‘pure’ in San Francisco

than in London, where what it stands for seems sadly unfashionable. It’s

not about through-the-line, interactive 3-D, relationship hypertextual

face-to-face marketing, but effective advertising, built on creative

instinct. Although the work can appear a little samey in that it’s all

classy, beautifully executed stuff, Leagas Delaney’s niche is one which

many others would aspire to. Its success with Adidas is actually a model

for the business. Look at the way Dreyfus pays tribute to its role in

revolutionising his company’s fortunes. When you next pull on a pair of

Gazelles or Campus trainers, spare a thought for the staff at Leagas

Delaney, Ca., where the office is dead at 6pm because they’re all off

home or sailing. Instinct can still go a long way, huh?



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