Lowe wins Reebok global soccer account

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LONDON -- Reebok International has named an ad agency in England--the birthplace of soccer--as its worldwide ad agency for the sport. Lowe Howard- Spink, the flagship London agency of Lowe & Partners Worldwide, was appointed as part of Reebok's new "strategy to build a portfolio of advertising resources." The account is worth an estimated $15m-$20m.

Last April in the U.S., Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, resigned from the Reebok account. Since then Boston-based shop Heater Advertising, which pitched for the soccer account, has handled new assignments while Reebok searched for additional agencies. Although Reebok wants to avoid being dependent on one ad agency globally across all product categories for creative work, in August it assigned its $90m global media buying account to Grey Advertising, New York.

Lowe Howard-Spink has worked for Reebok in the soccer category in the U.K. since 1994. "In the U.K., campaigns produced by Lowe Howard-Spink have combined great soccer products and a strong, on-field presence, including Reebok's sponsorship of Liverpool Football Club, to push Reebok to the No. 3 position in the soccer category behind two long-established soccer brands but ahead of another primary competitor," says John Wardley, the U.S.-based director of worldwide advertising for Reebok. He joined Reebok in September, from the Coca- Cola Co., where he was a senior advertising director. "It's our objective to replicate this success throughout the world," says Wardley.

Lowe's initial task will be to develop TV and print campaigns to support Reebok's "on-field" presence at the World Cup competition being held in France next year. The agency will also support new product launches.

Peter Moore, Reebok's senior vice president of soccer and rugby, says of Lowe: "Their creativity will enable us to maximize the introduction of new Reebok soccer boots and our relationship with a number of players who will play critical roles in the success of their national teams next year in France."

In the growing U.S. soccer market, Reebok is No. 2 behind Nike.

Copyright October 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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