Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., had two big disappointments in 1999: the loss of the $200 million-plus Microsoft Corp. account and $60 million in Miller Genuine Draft billings.
Still, the shop ended the year with a great morale-building victory, the return of the Nike account from creative rival Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.
By plugging away at its creative product with spots such as Tiger Woods' bouncing a golf ball off a club face, reorganizing its staff and making new business a priority, Wieden netted search engine Alta Vista and enough dot-com accounts to claim a billings rebound to $795 million in 1999 -- close to those of the previous year.
As Chief Operating Officer Dave Luhr put it: "We grew up a lot last year. It was a turning point for us."
With Nike back on board, the agency once again has its best partner for continuing its creative run. But the shop, which once limited itself to a handful of blue- chip clients, now faces the wear and tear of small accounts coming and going, such as its short-lived relationship with Stamps.com. It also is aiming to build its international presence with a long-term goal of increasing non-U.S. billings from 26% to 50%.