Asics Names 180 Amsterdam as Lead Global Agency After Pitch

Incumbent Vitro Keeps U.S. Business and Dentsu Retains Japan

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Asics has appointed 180 Amsterdam its new lead global ad agency after a pitch against incumbent Vitro, an agency based in San Diego that will keep the U.S. account, and Dentsu, which handles the business in Japan.

Asics: 'Made of Sport campaign'

The assignment for the Amsterdam-based agency is to drive consumers toward a more emotional connection with the Japanese sportswear brand's "True Sport" positioning through global marketing campaigns in TV, print, online and outdoor advertising as well as retail, events and public relations.

Asics is already working with 180 Amsterdam on its 2012 international brand marketing initiative, covering Europe, Japan, Australia and Asia. Six short web films launched last week in the "Made of Sport" campaign featuring amateur and professional athletes demonstrating their commitment to sports like running. The agency's first campaign as global lead agency of record won't appear until January 2013.

Katsumi Kato, senior general manager of Asics' global sales and marketing division, said in a statement: "After the great creative work executed by 180 for our 2012 'Made of Sport' campaign, we really look forward to working together at the global level to strengthen our unique 'True Sport' positioning all over the world."

Last year, 180 Amsterdam won a pitch to handle Asics' global communications around the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Vitro, the U.S. incumbent that loses the global AOR, said, "We love the brand and will continue delivering kick-ass creative, digital, media, and experiential work with Asics America. Like Asics, we stop at never."

Vitro launched the U.S. campaign "We Stop at Never" late last year, a few months after Erik Forselljoined Asics America as VP-marketing.

Omnicom Group bought a majority stake in 180 Amsterdam in 2006. The agency worked for Asics rival Adidas for almost a decade before losing the business without a pitch to Canadian agency Sid Lee in July 2010. Partly on the strength of its Adidas work, Marketing magazine, Ad Age 's editorial partner in Canada, this week named Montreal-based Sid Lee its Agency of the Year -- for the third straight year.

In its story about the honor, Marketing describes Sid Lee's "groundbreaking advertising campaign and iPhone application for Adidas -- take a picture of Adidas shoes and find the closest store to get a pair" -- as well as the agency's launch of a Michael Jackson-themed show for Cirque du Soleil and the creation of a headquarters for energy drink Red Bull "that is as much sculpture as office."

Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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