Adidas has begun talking to agency networks about the future of its
$100 million-plus international advertising arrangements.
The bulk of the sports giant's creative assignments are currently
handled by Leagas Delaney and Amsterdam's 180. A number of other
agencies are used to give the advertising a local touch, including
Burrell in the US, SCPF in Spain, Harrison McCann in Japan and Clemenger
BBDO in Australia.
Leagas Delaney and 180 will be retained on the business but they have
been asked by Adidas to offer recommendations on how they would work
with an international network and which network they propose. The move
comes as Adidas seeks a more streamlined approach to give greater speed
and coherence to its creative arrangements.
Neil Simpson, the head of global brand concepts and advertising at
Adidas, said: "This is about bringing greater efficiency to our
advertising arrangements. It is not a review driven by creative quality
issues, nor is it driven by cost-saving, though having a network will be
more cost efficient."
There is no pitchlist at this stage but a number of networks have been
approached about the business, Simpson confirmed. "My intention is to
retain Leagas and 180 but we need more international cohesion," he
"A network would help us to adapt and implement work and offer local
A key market in which Adidas is under-represented in agency coverage is
the US, where it used to work with Leagas Delaney's San Francisco
"If there was a strong US office in the new network, then I could see it
playing a role in creative development of US work," Simpson
But he quashed speculation that the move would lead to Leagas Delaney or
180 losing their key client. "Both are on the list, they are staying
with us," he said.
180 joined the Adidas roster three years ago when Simpson began a trawl
for an additional creative shop to work alongside Leagas Delaney because
the account had grown so rapidly.
Tim Delaney, Leagas Delaney's chief executive, who has been at the
centre of Adidas's advertising strategy for eight years, remains
sanguine. "Adidas is looking at something to make it more coherent,
which is sensible," he said.
Delaney rubbished speculation that Leagas Delaney has been trawling the
market for a buyer with Adidas' requirement for a network in mind and
following the collapse of its deal with the Canadian marketing services
group Envoy. "The two things are not linked," he said.
180 declined to comment. The company's media arrangements are not