Wieden & Kennedy, Nike’s main advertising agency, has fired two
senior executives from its Amsterdam office after it emerged they were
working on a new-business pitch for Nike’s arch-rival, Adidas.
Adidas launched the pitch to find additional creative agencies to work
alongside its incumbent, Leagas Delaney, in June (Campaign, 26
The pitch is being run by Neil Simpson, Adidas’s global advertising
Chris Mendola, the Amsterdam office’s account director on Nike, and Alex
Melvin, a planning director, were dismissed last week. Liz Hartge, a
spokeswoman for W&K Portland, Oregon, confirmed that the two executives
had left the company. ’They no longer work at Wieden & Kennedy,’ she
A source close to the business said that Dan Wieden, W&K’s president,
who has been based at the Amsterdam office for the past week, became
aware of the pair’s counter activities after being alerted by staff in
the creative department.
It is still unclear whether Mendola and Melvin were formally approached
by Adidas or if they were working on the pitch without its
It is understood they intended to set up their own agency if they won
Both Wieden and Simpson were travelling as Campaign went to press.
Claire Dobbie, Nike’s advertising manager in the UK, did not return
Agencies pitching for the Adidas business have yet to be revealed.
Simpson said in June that he had shortlisted five agencies: two in the
UK and one each in Spain, France and Holland.