Nike steers creative to local Asia agencies

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Nike has adopted a strategy of seeking the best creative shops locally as it moves from distributor arrangements in Asia to wholly owned subsidiaries with Nike-run marketing and sales operations.

The appointment last week of Dentsu, Young & Rubicam, Bangkok, to Nike's new $2 million to $2.4 million account in Thailand brings the shoe marketer's Asian roster to 10 different agencies.

DY&R pitched against J. Walter Thompson Co., Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and local agency Spar. The winner's only previous experience with Nike is in Eastern Europe, where Young & Rubicam won the business in Russia, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1994.


Nike has taken a different approach in Europe, where Wieden & Kennedy won the U.K. account last month from Simons Palmer TBWA on the promise of opening a London office; its Amsterdam agency handles the rest of Nike's European business.

In Asia, Nike has primarily been handled by JWT; until recently that has entailed largely media placement for U.S. work created by Wieden. But Nike has shifted from distributors to subsidiaries in many markets, picking its own agencies to develop ads reflecting local sports and athletes.

JWT is still Nike's biggest Asian agency, handling China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, said Martha Benson, Nike's Hong Kong-based director of communications for Asia/Pacific.

Nike uses local agencies in Malaysia and South Korea and Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide in New Zealand. In Japan, Wieden and McCann-Erickson Worldwide handle Nike in a joint venture called The Alliance.

Wieden also has several creative people in Australia for Nike. And the agency's U.S. office has created a new campaign themed "I dream" targeting Asian youths.

In Thailand, Nike will reposition the brand from casual footwear to more expensive performance-oriented shoes for athletes.

Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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