Sportswear giant Nike is planning to split its different sports activities into individual brand categories and divide them between a number of advertising agencies.
Nike has had conversations with various agencies in the UK, and across the world, about this strategy. The company makes products for over 30 sports. Key activities are athletics, basketball, tennis, football, training and rugby.
Nike will not reveal how big its worldwide ad budget is, though, as a guide, its main rival Reebok spends about 300m on advertising and marketing worldwide. Nike spent 9m on advertising in the UK last year, according to ACNielsen-MEAL.
Agency sources close to Nike say the company is beginning to think that certain agencies may have a better feel for particular sports. The idea behind the move is an attempt to improve the “grass-roots” feel of the company’s advertising.
Wieden & Kennedy, Nike’s lead agency, is regarded by the company as having an excellent feel for brand building and athletics ads. However, it is understood that its “good versus evil” football commercial last year, though well regarded in agency circles, was not considered sufficiently “cutting-edge” by Nike.
A Wieden & Kennedy spokeswoman claims: “We have not heard of such a plan.”
TBWA Simons Palmer’s latest “Parklife” TV ad on football is highly regarded by the company, but sources say Nike considers the agency’s rugby work could be better. TBWA Simons Palmer handles Nike in the UK.
However, well-placed agency sources claim the move will be centred in the UK, and that it is a reaction to Nike’s disappointment over TBWA Simons Palmer’s work on all sport outside football.
A Nike spokeswoman says: “We are currently working with all our agencies”, but she refuses to make any further comment.
A TBWA Simons Palmer source says: “Nike is always looking at its advertising. We wouldn’t be surprised if this was being considered.”