Andy Towne, who is responsible for Adidas advertising, has joined six of his colleagues in quitting the sports giant for outdoor clothing brand Helly Hansen.
Towne, Adidas head of communications, takes up his new position as Helly Hansen global vice-president of communications next week. His appointment heralds a global branding campaign next year.
Helly Hanson, which is 120 years old, is also planning to appoint its first advertising agency.
Towne says: “We will look at advertising and all aspects of the marketing and communications mix. We are going to move the brand powerfully and quickly.”
A year ago, former Adidas managing director Bob McCulloch joined Helly Hansen as worldwide chief operations officer.
Five Adidas marketing staff – Towne, his predecessor and three category managers and the former directors of operations and logistics – have followed McCulloch to Helly Hansen.
Towne says the size of Adidas made decision-making slow and his personal impact less visible.
He has been responsible for Adidas’ advertising for the past three years and intends to use some Adidas “tricks” to get the Helly Hansen brand noticed.
Towne adds: “The brand just needs a kick up the backside. We are not kidding ourselves that it will be on the scale of Adidas or Nike, but it can be a significant player.”
Outdoor clothing brands such as Hansen, Karrimor and The North Face are fashionable with the youth market.
Towne says that it is essential the company builds core brands which will outlast fashion.