Lola Partners With Nomad in Spain to Launch Retro Skateboard Line

Under New Creative Leader Chacho Puebla, Lowe Shop Ventures Into Product Design and Ownership

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Nomad Skateboards has gone into business with Lola, Lowe & Partners' Madrid-based agency, to create a line of retro skateboards called Old School.

Lola, which worked on the concept, design and business plan for the skateboards and accessories, and created a marketing campaign for the launch, will share in sales profit.

Chacho Puebla, a leading creative who Lowe snatched from rival Leo Burnett Iberia in September 2011 in an effort to rebuild the Lola agency, is a keen skateboarder and snowboarder. He was in talks with Spanish company Nomad about taking on its advertising account but decided to propose an alternative relationship.

Mr. Puebla, who is joint chief creative officer, said: "A lot of us at Lola love skateboarding and snowboarding, and Nomad is the biggest brand in Spain. We came up with the idea of becoming partners and creating a sub-brand. It's good for us. We've been concerned about how to get involved in the business of our clients, and we've been questioning the payment-by -the-hour or payment-by -results relationship."

So Old School was born, the latest example of agencies getting involved in creating -- and owning -- products. Nomad is a joint venture with Lola, with Nomad holding a slight majority stake. The skateboard parts come from China and are assembled in Spain, with much of the finished product exported to Asia, the Americas and Europe.

"The design is inspired by the 1970s skateboards," Mr. Puebla said. "Most boards now originate from a very different 1980s design, so new tricks will come out of the Old School skateboards. They are like having a blank sheet of paper in front of you."

The first 500 Old School boards will be personalized with the owner's name for free. Last month they were made available for pre-order online and sold out in five hours. Production was stepped up, and at the end of April, the boards will go on sale in stores in countries worldwide, including China, the U.S., Germany and Brazil.

With Spain in recession, it's hard for any business to succeed, said Mr. Puebla, who's eager to try different models. "The old formula is not working," he said. "We need to find new ways."

The plan is to create a whole line of Old School merchandise, including athletic shoes, clothing and accessories. "It's an open line of business for the agency to experiment with," Mr. Puebla said. "I don't want to rush it, but there are lots of things we can do that are cool and are related to that ['70s] era."

Nomad started in 2000, but Lola's campaign for Old School delves further into the past than the 1970s-inspired design. The theme: "The board that should have arrived 100 years ago is here." The effort includes a black-and-white online film, set at a railroad station in the early 20th century. In the two-and-a-half-minute ad, mustachioed men in suits and hats skateboard on the platform, performing tricks as they jump over a pile of old-fashioned, leather suitcases. The spot was directed by the Spanish director known as SEGA (his real name Sergio Garcia).

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