Russell Athletic, the world’s largest textile sportswear brand, is
hunting for an advertising agency to handle its first pan-European TV
The company, which is owned by the US-based Russell Corporation, is in
discussions with two agencies about developing a campaign next year. The
two unnamed shops both have European networks.
Russell Athletic’s Brussels-based European marketing director, Marc Low,
said the brand now had the critical mass in Europe to warrant an above-
the-line campaign. ‘We have been growing in Europe at a rate of 30 per
cent a year for the past three years and now is the right time to start
looking for something to take the brand forward,’ he commented.
‘This would be the first major brand advertising for Russell Athletic in
Europe, but it is still at an exploratory stage. Nothing has been
finalised,’ Low added.
The UK was the brand’s stepping-off point in Europe ten years ago.
Russell Athletic now has six offices across the Continent, as well as
distribution centres in most countries. Its main competitors are
Champion and clothing and footwear manufacturers such as Reebok, Nike
The 94-year-old brand is huge in the US, where it provides training gear
for 26 NFL American football teams and a number of Major League Baseball
In the UK, Russell Athletic sponsors the Olympic Games gold medal-
winning rowers, Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsett.
Until recently, its marketing activity in the UK was limited to point-
of-sale and merchandising promotions through the below-the-line agency,
However, this summer the agency produced a press and poster campaign
featuring the kick-boxer, Sean Cochrane, which was photographed by the
former Eurythmics star, Dave Stewart.
Cochrane is shown swinging high above New York on a flag-pole and
running around the edge of the Empire State Building.
The campaign will run until October in the men’s health and style press
- including GQ, Loaded and Men’s Health.
Posters will appear on escalators on the London Underground and Adshel
Russell Athletic’s only previous foray on to European TV was a one-off
campaign on MTV two years ago to support its sponsorship of Grand Prix