Nike's Converse Brand Conducts Media Agency Review

Shops Pitching Include Publicis Groupe's MediaVest, Omnicom's OMD and Horizon

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Nike-owned Converse is on track to double its sales over the next few years and it's looking for a media buying and planning agency to support that growth.

The Andover, Mass-based sneaker and apparel brand, best known for its retro "Chuck Taylor" product, is in the midst of a media agency review, according to multiple executives familiar with the matter. Contenders include Publicis Groupe's MediaVest, Omnicom's OMD and independent Horizon.

Nike's longtime creative shop Wieden & Kennedy has supported Converse media efforts. Anomaly is the creative agency for Converse.

The shops either declined to comment or couldn't be reached. Nike did not respond to a request for comment.

The media budget -- $22 million – is not huge, execs said. But agencies are likely to perk up at the thought of working with a cool brand poised for major growth. It's attractive too to be a part of the universe of Nike, which is not only a top ad spender but also widely considered one of the most innovative companies around. While small, that media budget is a healthy boost from the $5 million that Converse spent on U.S. measured media in 2012, according to Kantar Media. Parent Nike spent $1.01 billion on total U.S. advertising in 2012, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

The move to boost media investment is on line with Converse's growth goals. Nike is predicting that Converse will grow "at a mid-teens average annual growth rate, to $3 billion in revenues by the end of fiscal 2017," it said during a recent investor meeting at its world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Currently, its revenues are about half that. "Over the next four years the Company expects steady growth from the Chuck Taylor franchise, with more rapid growth from Converse's other brands, new apparel offerings, expansion of its Direct to Consumer business and conversion of additional markets to direct distribution."

Geoff Cottrill joined Converse as chief marketing officer in 2007.

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