Intersport, the sports retailer that lost its marketing chief
midway through an agency pitch, has appointed the Manchester agency,
Sass Panayi, to handle its pounds 2.1 million account.
Martin Newman, the company’s marketing manager, quit to join the rival
retailer, Sports Division, prompting J. Walter Thompson to withdraw from
The result was a four-way pitch involving Barker & Ralston (the
incumbent), Cogent, Sass Panayi and HHCL & Partners. Media buying will
be handled by Sass 2 Media, its first full-service win since launching
as a media dependant in March.
Newman, who joined Intersport earlier this year, was the driving force
behind the review, which is part of an initiative to give the 360
outlets a more strongly branded and ’cooler’ image.
The change of agency is a prelude to the first major ad campaign by the
company, a buying and marketing umbrella for 84 independent operators.
It comes amid growing competition between high street sports
Intersport, which had previously confined the bulk of its advertising to
the regional press, is understood to have been under pressure from its
members to produce a more visible profile. TV advertising, supported by
national press and magazines, is being planned for November.
Ian Waddington, Sass Panayi’s planning and development director, said:
’We aim to reawaken interest and help Intersport change from an
organisation of retailers to a focused retail organisation and
A problem for the company, which gives its members access to bulk buying
deals with manufacturers, has been a lack of control over its trading
environment, which has inhibited its push upmarket.