Nike in talks with non-roster agencies

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LONDON -- Sportswear giant Nike is canvassing opinion outside of its European agencies on the direction of its marketing. It is in talks with various agencies in different countries, but claims that its accounts in the U.K. and in the rest of Europe, currently with TBWA Simons Palmer, London, and Wieden & Kennedy, Amsterdam, respectively, are not in doubt.

"We're a growing business. Change has always been the nature of our business," says Public Relations Manager Graham Anderson. "We're talking to people across the marketing mix to look at different ways of marketing.'' But, he adds, "we have no plans at this stage to change our agencies."

Wieden & Kennedy has held the Nike account for 15 years and TBWA Simons Palmer for seven years.

Executives close to the business say that Nike is planning to divide its advertising business by sports category - such as running or soccer - rather than by country, as it does now. But Anderson describes that idea as "probably barking up the wrong tree."

Speculation that TBWA Simons Palmer may lose its hold of the estimated $14.5m U.K. account has arisen following the merger of Nike's previous agency Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson with TBWA in January 1997.

But, says Anderson: "We have exactly the same team working on the business as a year ago, so I can't see any effect [of the merger] there." He adds: "If you look at our advertising, we have had some of the world's greatest ads over the past year."

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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