London agency Leagas Delaney expands across Europe

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LONDON -- London-based agency Leagas Delaney is expanding its two-shop operation into three new markets at the behest of global client Adidas.

New offices, wholly owned by Leagas Delaney, are being set up in Paris, Rome and Barcelona. "They are there specifically in the first instance to handle our Adidas business and [the move] was at the request of Adidas in Europe that we provide that kind of service to their local managers," says Bruce Haines, Leagas Delaney's chief executive. The agency opened in San Francisco in March 1996 to service the Adidas business in Portland, Oregon.

Mr. Haines refutes all suggestions that this latest expansion is an attempt to shore up the agency's hold on the Adidas business worldwide, estimated at $70m this year and closer to $100m in 1998. The appointment of ex-Coca-Cola European advertising director Neil Simpson as global advertising director in August this year with the brief to develop Adidas' advertising across the globe has prompted speculation that the account will be put up for review.

"[The opening of new offices] is absolutely fueled by the success of Adidas and its advertising," Mr. Haines says. "The brand has grown at such a rate that individual marketplaces now have the requirement for more specifically targeted advertising."

The Paris, Rome and Barcelona offices will produce work that will run in addition to global campaigns created in London. Leagas Delaney London already generates specific advertising for the U.K. and Germany. Next year, Adidas will spend around $17m in the U.K., slightly more in Germany, and $33m in the rest of Europe, most of which will be deployed in France, which is hosting the soccer World Cup.

Adidas has not yet specified other European markets into which it would like Leagas Delaney to expand, Mr. Haines says.

Staff in the new offices will not be asked to search for new business, but will devote themselves entirely to Adidas, according to Mr. Haines. But, he admits, "as an agency brand we are becoming more and more attractive to international clients. If one comes along, we would recruit [more staff] for them and the [continental] offices would grow on that basis."

Plans for a base in the Far East - revealed in Advertising Age's Daily World Wire in August 1996 - have decelerated because of the diversity of Adidas' requirements in each market, Mr. Haines says. "We're feeling our way carefully because we don't want to rush into one particular marketplace and find that there is not enough pan-regional work to do."

Executives in the new European offices will report to Paul Tredwell, the London- based worldwide account director on the Adidas business.

Music Asia reaches 10 million cabled households in India, two million less than Channel [V]. MTV, now localizing its programs at a furious pace, has managed to enter seven million homes.

News Corp. owns half of Zee parent Asia Today, a Hong Kong-based holding company, but has no stake in Music Asia, whose promoter Subhash Chandra also heads Zee. Rupert Murdoch recently announced in Adelaide, Australia, that Asia Today would be floated on the New York Stock Exchange after the various partners diluted their stake. Zee spokesmen in Bombay have denied agreeing to such a listing, however.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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