Mitre takes fight to larger sports brands with Pitch

Mitre has called in Pitch PR to position it as a high-tech sports kit manufacturer and take on bigger rivals such as Nike, Adidas and Umbro.

The Freud Communications-backed agency was appointed to the consumer brief after a six-way pitch. Three-year incumbent Paul Ridley PR – run by former Sun sports editor Paul Ridley – declined to repitch.

Part of the Pentland Group, Mitre is the oldest UK sports brand and is the official ball provider to the English, Scottish and Welsh football leagues. It is also the sole supplier to the Football Association.

However, the firm is concerned about a lack of national media presence and wants to boost its profile ahead of the 2006 Football World Cup in Germany, where the England team will use Mitre balls in training.

It is also keen to exploit the publicity surrounding the opening of the new Wembley Stadium next year – the first FA Cup final hosted by the venue will use a specially designed Mitre football.

Pitch will start work on a number of product launches, including the Meteor football, but also aims to raise Mitre's profile as a shoewear manufacturer.

'We have ranges of football, rugby, netball and cricket footwear,' said Mitre marketing manager Katrina McCreadie. 'And we will be launching a big campaign next year to promote our range of cricket products.'

Pitch will reinforce the Mitre brand to its strongest market – the 30-plus 'occasional user' – but also plans to target professional and semi-professional sports enthusiasts and the junior market.

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