New Balance adds Phd to roster ahead of relaunch

Athletics brand New Balance has appointed Phd to handle its global media planning and buying, as it prepares to undergo a major relaunch.

The Omnicom-owned age­ncy joins sister agency BBDO on the roster. The appointment marks the first time the brand has commissioned a media or advertising agency.

BBDO won the global creative business earlier this year following a pitch. It is thought Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO will oversee the adaptation of campaigns for the UK market.

An increase in its marketing spend is part of a plan to double New Balance’s global business from £759m to £1.5bn in the next five years.

New Balance, which spe­cialises in making high performance footwear, is launching a global campaign this spring aimed at creating a greater emotional connection with consumers and attracting more 18- to 29-year-old users.

The theme of the campaign is “Running is the heart of all sport” and will encompass online, sponsorships, events and in-store marketing.

It will run throughout spring and summer in major international markets, in­cluding the US, UK, Europe, Asia, Canada and Australia.

In the past, New Balance limited marketing activity to sport sponsorships and associations with athletes.

The push is being led by the company’s global chief executive, Robert DeMartini, who was app­ointed in April last year. DeMartini is a former Gillette and Procter & Gamble marketer.

The brand was launched in 1906 in Boston, Massachusetts, when William Riley, an English immigrant, committed himself to helping people with problem feet by creating prescription footwear.

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