German sports giant Adidas is reviewing its largest UK consumer PR
account, worth over pounds 200,000 in annual fees and covering its brand
name across all sports.
Adidas has received credentials from six agencies and has shortlisted
four of them: The Red Consultancy, Burson-Marsteller, Freud
Communications and incumbent agency Hill and Knowlton.
H&K began working for Adidas five years ago on a project to promote
Adidas’ ’predator’ soccer boot in the run-up to the 1994 World Cup. Its
brief has since expanded to cover the Adidas brand across all sports in
the UK - the account which is now under review.
H&K also handles UK product PR for the areas of running, soccer and
women’s work-out as well as ad hoc projects nationally and globally. The
most recent of these is worldwide PR for Adidas’ sponsorship of the New
Zealand rugby team (PR Week, 20 November). These accounts are not up for
The brand PR brief includes promoting Adidas’ sponsorship of
featherweight boxing champion Prince Naseem Hamed, tennis ace Tim Henman
and Manchester United star David Beckham in the national consumer and
Adidas UK PR manager, Steve Martin, who headed the Adidas account for
H&K before joining the company two years ago, said: ’The reason we’re
doing this isn’t that we’re unhappy with Hill and Knowlton, it is just
good business practice. I’ve come straight from H&K and would like to
see other ways of working.’ He added: ’This is the big part of the
business. It’s targeting the youth market.’
Adidas’ other PR agency in the UK aside from H&K is Collard Grosvenor,
which has worked for Adidas since 1995 and continues to handle PR for
the company’s specialist fitness training schemes.
Adidas reported six-monthly profits for the period ending last June of
pounds 682 million, an increase of 38.5 per cent on the same period last