The account went into review this summer after veteran consumer-products marketer Robert T. DeMartini (Procter & Gamble, Gillette Co., Tyson Foods) was named CEO, and Chairman Jim Davis said he would step aside after 35 years to make way for younger, more progressive management.
The review, led by Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., pitted New York and Midwest agencies from three different holding companies, as well as one independent shop. Those agencies were: Havas' Arnold, Boston; Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, and Element 79 Partners, Chicago; Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, which is partly owned by Publicis Groupe; and indie Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago.
The move to a massive agency network is a leap for privately held New Balance, whose incumbent agency partner was independent Boathouse, Waltham, Mass. But change may be needed as the shoemaker lost market share to its much larger rival, Nike, this year.
BBDO had no comment and referred all calls to the client. A C-K spokeswoman declined to comment. Arnold referred calls to the client. And representatives from Element 79 and Bartle Bogle could not be reached by press time. New Balance and Select Resources could also not be reached immediately.
New Balance, whose top competitors include Nike and Reebok, has long avoided the use of celebrity endorsers for its products. The vendor sells products in more than 100 countries and in 2006 saw U.S. sales of $1.08 billion, and global sales of $1.55 billion.
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UPDATE: BBDO's media sibling PHD has won media duties for the account, a spokeswoman for the agency confirmed.