TBWA/Chiat/Day scores Adidas

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Another shoe has dropped at Omnicom Group's TBWA/ Chiat/Day, which won the $100 million global creative account of Adidas-Salomon, the sneaker and sports apparel marketer.

Adidas' move marks the fourth sneaker account for the agency, which over the years has won-and lost-Nike, Reebok and L.A. Gear.

Persons familiar with the review, reported first on AdAge.com (QuikFIND AAN00S) last week, confirmed TBWA's Playa del Rey, Calif., office, aligned with Amsterdam shop 180, beat out Omnicom sibling DDB Worldwide for the account. DDB was aligned with Leagas Delaney, London, which has led Adidas creative for nine years and in recent years worked with 180.

Leagas Delaney is now out, and it's expected that another Omnicom shop, BBDO Worldwide, will be relieved of handling Adidas in Australia and several Asian nations.

TBWA declined to comment. Adidas America in Beaverton, Ore., and parent company Adidas-Salomon AG in Germany also declined to comment, although a person familiar with the win said Adidas is expected to make a public announcement "after the [New Year's] holiday."

TBWA/Chiat/Day predecessor shop Chiat/Day was Nike's main agency in the mid-1980s and produced some early spots built around Michael Jordan. Nike-and Jordan-took off when the athletic shoe company moved the main account back to Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., in 1986 when Nike launched the Air Jordan sneaker.

In the late '80s and early '90s, Chiat/Day handled Reebok International, creating the "Planet Reebok" campaign as well as the controversial "Reebok lets UBU" campaign. Chiat/Day picked up L.A. Gear in 1994 but no longer handles that brand.

The Adidas review was generally seen as less a creative change than one to consolidate the company's many agency tentacles. Neither 180 nor Leagas Delaney had a global presence, which forced Adidas to work with almost two dozen other agencies on various projects.

In August, Adidas America handed its $55 million U.S. media buying and planning account to Aegis Group's Carat USA without a review. Carat International handles international media.

MARKETING BLITZ

Adidas is a distant third in sales in the sports apparel industry behind Nike and Reebok. At the end of 2000, Adidas had just 11.3% of the nearly $8 billion U.S. athletic footwear market, while Nike had 42.6% and Reebok 11.9%, according to market researcher Sporting Goods Intelligence.

At the close of this year, however, Nike was down to a 38% market share while Adidas rose to 12% and Reebok to 15%.

In November, Adidas announced its third-quarter sales were up 6%. It showed growth in all product divisions, including footwear and apparel.

Adidas-Salomon was a main climber on the DAX German stock market index this year, rising 26% over the past 12 months.

In early January, Adidas launches two campaigns, including a TV and print effort for the new T-MAC shoe, the signature sneaker of Orlando Magic basketball star Tracy McGrady.

In March, Adidas will introduce a pair of shoe lines with unusual features: the A3, a running shoe with a plastic coil in the heel that absorbs shock, and the ClimaCool, a shoe with better air circulation and ventilation. A3 and Climacool will be handled by 180. Publicis Groupe-backed Burrell Communications is currently handling the T-MAC campaign.

TBWA/Chiat/Day handles the $76 million Levi Strauss & Co. account, which in the past has been seen as a conflict with sports apparel.

Levi Strauss spokesman John Ordona said: "It's not a concern of ours here. We don't look at Adidas as a direct competitor."

Contributing: Laurel Wentz

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