NEW YORK: U.S. Olympic surfer Kolohe Andino has chosen Finn Partners to represent him ahead of the summer games this month.
There was no formal RFP. Instead, the relationship developed over the last year and solidified once it was confirmed the games would be held despite the COVID-19 pandemic, said Missy Farren, managing partner and head of Finn Partners’ consumer, lifestyle and sports group.
Finn Partners has a history working with athletes in action sports. The agency has worked with brands and athletes at eight Olympic games, including brands like Burton Snowboards, Roxy and Target and snowboarders Shaun White and Red Gerard.
"[White] is his own kind of character with the hair and personality, and we thought, ‘Why can't we take the Olympics out of typical sports media and do something different?’" Farren said. "Then the U.S. Ski & Snowboard crew recommended us to GT Bikes and BMX to launch BMX in Beijing. All of those relationships led to this year."
It was Finn Partners’ experience in this arena that attracted Andino to the agency as he made his Olympic debut.
Mark Ervin, an SVP at WME Sports and Andino’s agent, said that Farren’s team “has a deep history in launching new sports into the Olympics and have been a trusted partner of the athletes I’ve been working with for the past 15 years, which made it a very natural fit for this partnership during Kolohe’s Olympic year. The results have already been outstanding and there is undoubtedly more to come."
Laura Anderson Sanchez, a partner at Finn Partners, is leading a team of four on the account.
This year is the first time surfing has been represented at the summer Olympic games.
Finn Partners is focused on communications strategies that will ensure Andino and surfing as an Olympic sport are represented authentically before, during and after the games through earned media and social media counsel.
The agency will also cohesively partner with Andino’s sponsors and USA Surfing.
"We saw the tremendous opportunity ahead for surfers who are having their Olympic debut," Sanchez said. "They may not know what's in store for them, but want to make sure that [Andino] can fulfill his potential and reach a broader audience outside of surfing."
Finn Partners did not disclose the contract's dollar value, but a typical victory tour for one Olympian is $50,000 and close to $250,000 for a larger group, Farren noted.