Just about a year after McCann Erickson grabbed the advertising account of Adidas, the brand is set to move again. This time as a result of a global realignment. The Rs 2-4-crore Adidas business in India will move to TBWAAnthem, Delhi, on September 1. A visibly excited Viren Razdan, vice-president, TBWAAnthem, Delhi, told agencyfaqs!, "Though the size of the business is not big, Adidas is an extremely prestigious account for us."
The move follows an international realignment in December year, when the sneaker and sports apparel giant Adidas-Salomon, Amsterdam, awarded its $100-million global creative account to Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day. TBWA, aligned with Amsterdam shop 180, beat out Omnicom sibling DDB Worldwide for the account. DDB was aligned with Leagas Delaney, London, which shared creative duties on Adidas with 180 for the past nine years. Post the late December 2001 realignment, Leagas Delaney was out, as was BBDO Worldwide, which handled Adidas in Australia and several Asian nations.
The review was generally seen as less a creative change than one to consolidate Adidas' many agency tentacles. Neither 180 nor Leagas Delaney had a global presence, which forced Adidas to work with almost two dozen agencies on various projects.
In India, the Adidas account at that point in time was with McCann Erickson, Delhi, which had won the business post a four-way pitch held just six months before the global arrangement was announced in December 2001. The Indian office of Adidas was emphatic that it didn't wish to move the business to a new agency so soon. As it turns out, with the rest of the Asia-Pacific offices of Adidas deciding to follow the global arrangement and align themselves to TBWA partners and group agencies, Adidas India has come round to the merits of being part of the same global network.
While many in the industry saw this as a foregone conclusion, TBWAAnthem is decidedly happy with the Adidas India decision to consolidate its business with the agency in September. That, despite the fact that Adidas - in spite of taking the celebrity endorsement route - has been among the most conservative spenders in the category. In an earlier interview to agencyfaqs!, Tarun Kunzru, managing director, Adidas, had admitted, "The fact that the Adidas account is prestigious is true and that we do not spend much is also right. Adidas India's ad spends are proportionate to the size of the business. Had the Indian operations been a billion-dollar company, we would be spending bigger amounts of money. But as of now, we are spending about 2 per cent of our annual turnover on advertising. But we are very smart with the way we spend our money."
But things are about to change, it seems. In the same interview Kunzru had indicated, "Our advertising has been more serious and puritanical in the past. It's been more like perspiration, blood, success and win. But now we have changed all that. Our new advertising is more fun. It is pitched on lifestyle. Both domestic and international advertising of Adidas is changing to lifestyle and attitude. What's going to happen next year is that we may tweak our strategy slightly. While the focus will remain on the brand's image - that Adidas is trendy and fashionable - and our communication will move away from serious sports. Because about 80 per cent of Adidas India's sales is purely for its lifestyle value."
While both Adidas India and its new agency partner in the country are cagey about discussing the future advertising route, things will hopefully be clear when the arrangement takes official shape in four weeks' time. © 2002 agencyfaqs!