New Balance to Bring on VML as Global Creative AOR

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New Balance David Ortiz Walk-Off Cleats
New Balance David Ortiz Walk-Off Cleats Credit: New Balance
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New Balance is poised to select VML as its global creative agency, following a competitive review, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

R3 supported the review. The majority of spending will focus on the U.S., but New Balance will look to expand its creative efforts globally going forward, people with knowledge of the matter told Ad Age.

Arnold, which previously led creative for the sneaker company, was hired as global creative AOR in June 2010, winning the duties from BBDO and Mother. The relationship ended this past June, an Arnold representative previously confirmed.

Representatives from New Balance and VML declined to comment.

Last week, VML was named lead creative and digital agency in North America for the Electrolux and Frigidaire brands, following a competitive review. VML pulled together a team of sibling WPP shops to support the company across media, in-store and brand activation and PR. VML, No. 9 on Ad Age's 2016 Agency A-List, also was named lead creative agency for PepsiCo's Brisk brand in the U.S. over the summer. In March, Wendy's parted ways with Publicis New York and named VML its new creative agency.

Next year, New Balance will replace Asics as the footwear and apparel sponsor of the New York City Marathon, ending Asics' 25-year partnership with the race.

The company spent more than $29 million on measured media in the U.S. during 2015, according to Kantar Media.

Earlier this month, New Balance unveiled a new digital and social campaign #GreaterThantheWin, and tapped creative crowdsourcing firm Tongal to handle the project. This is the first time Boston-based New Balance has worked with Tongal. The campaign includes video stories on three athletes, such as Emmy Shae, who speaks about the criticism she receives as a female boxer. It will debut across YouTube and on social channels in key markets such as North America, Latin America, Spain and Japan. Nearly 50 filmmakers pitched ideas for the project, which was first posted on Tongal's site in June.

"We're excited to be working with Tongal on this project as they offer such an innovative platform to access a global community of highly talented, creative and independent filmmakers," said Steven Ruhl, head of global brand marketing at New Balance, via email. He noted that the series "tells the unique and inspiring stories of athletes' intent on carving their own path."

New Balance also recently partnered with J. Crew on a new activewear line.

Contributing: Adrianne Pasquarelli