Intersport appoints Sass Panayi in bid to create ’cool’ look

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.

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 contest.



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

retailers.



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

brand.’



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.



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