Marketer's Longtime Agency Replaces JWT After Pitch

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Nike has moved its advertising account for China from WPP Group's JWT to longtime agency Wieden & Kennedy.

Nike's China advertising account has gone to Wieden & Kennedy's offices there.
Wieden, which handles Nike in the U.S. and most markets globally, opened its office in China in 2004 without cornerstone client Nike. JWT’s Shanghai office has handled the account for the past eight years, but Nike recently conducted a pitch among five shops. In addition to Wieden and JWT, contenders included Publicis Groupe's Publicis Mojo in Australia, and two independent agencies in Shanghai, DMG and Nitro.

Wieden referred calls for comment to the client; Nike said it had made an agency decision but is not yet prepared to announce it.

Major global opportunity
Billings were undisclosed, but China presents Nike with one of its biggest global opportunities. The country is in the midst of a basketball boom as the 2008 Beijing Olympics approach.

In the past, Nike has sent basketball superstar Michael Jordan to China for promotional tours to promote its apparel line. LeBron James is expected to be Nike’s point man for the upcoming China push and the third-year superstar recently toured both China and Japan. That’s despite the fact that Nike had to pull a controversial spot in China late last year called “Chamber of Fear” that showed Mr. James defeating a cartoon kung fu master. The spot was criticized in China for offending the country’s cultural heritage and dignity.

Nike doesn't exactly have the market to itself. Reebok signed Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming, and Li Ning, a onetime Olympian representing China, has created a line of major sports brands in the country.

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Normandy Madden contributed to this report.

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