Adidas in hunt for global ad network

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

explained.



"A network would help us to adapt and implement work and offer local

insight."



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

operation.



"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

explained.



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

affected.