Arnell Group Retains Portion of the Account

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NEW YORK ( -- Footwear maker Reebok has shifted a portion of its advertising responsibilities to independent agency McGarry Bowen from Omnicom Group's Arnell Group, according to executives familiar with the matter.

A spokeswoman for the Canton, Mass., maker of footwear and apparel said, "We don't comment on our marketing." A spokesman for McGarry Bowen referred calls to the client. Calls to Peter Arnell, chairman-CEO of the Arnell Group, were not returned at press time.

Media buying in the U.S., which has been handled by Omnicom's PHD since June 2002, is not moving, one executive said.

Arnell Group is retaining some of the Reebok account, but how the responsibilities are being divided between the two agencies is unclear. The company hired Arnell Group in early 2002 to introduce its RBK brand, aimed at young men. Arnell Group also handled advertising for Reebok's performance and classic lines.

Reebok International spent $48 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. For January through July 2004, spending was $20.7 million.

Reebok has in recent months undergone several significant management changes in its senior ranks. President and Chief Operating Officer Jay Margolis left in late October, and longtime Reebok executive, Chairman-CEO Paul Fireman, assumed day-to-day leadership responsibilities. In February, Dennis Baldwin was promoted to chief marketing officer from senior vice president of global footwear following the departure of Mickey Pant.

U.S. footwear sales for Reebok in 2003 were $1 billion, up 11.2% from 2002, according to the company's most recent annual report. Sales of RBK footwear sales in U.S. increased 48% in 2003 vs. 2002, and the RBK brand comprised 15% of all Reebok brand footwear sales in the U.S.

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Alice Z. Cuneo and Matthew Creamer contributed to this report.

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