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CREATIVE 101: ADWEEK CHRONICLES NIKE/W&K PARTNERSHIP

          Since Nike signed S.F.-based Goodby, Silverstein &
     Partners as a "project shop" in March '97, long-time Nike
     agency Wieden & Kennedy "has watched its once-exclusive
     relationship with its signature client -- a relationship
     many industry members regarded as an ideal -- loosen and
     fray," according to Voight & Parpis of ADWEEK, who examine
     Nike's relationship with both agencies in an extensive must-
     read.  Dan Wieden, whose agency has worked with Nike since
     '82, called Goodby's involvement "a wake-up call for our
     agency," and added that his agency's relationship with Nike
     "is more like family than it is business."  However,
     insiders "use words like 'anxious' and 'paranoid' to
     describe the mood at Wieden's offices," and account and
     creative employees "are said to be deeply worried."  Wieden
     recently laid off 37 workers in Portland, after Nike's
     recent "sales drop-off" caused billings cuts (ADWEEK, 6/22).
          LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBY? In March '97, Goodby was given 
     four "noncore assignments: women's sports, performance
     apparel, ACG outdoor products and retail."  Goodby's winning
     pitch suggested a "more humble, caring tone for the brand." 
     And, while Nike and both agencies at the time downplayed
     Goodby's account as "Wieden's leftovers," sources claim that
     "in reality the loss of women's sports stung Wieden." 
     Currently, "including projected cuts," a tally of current
     Nike U.S. billings gives Goodby about $70-80M, while Wieden
     "has taken a major hit," with its domestic billings down
     from $210M to the $100-120M range (ADWEEK, 6/22 issue). 
          CORPORATE MIDLIFE CRISIS? Voight & Parpis write that
     Nike Chair Phil Knight "faces a quandary" as the company
     prepares its advertising strategy: "Should Nike reinforce
     its brand essence as the sexy, brazen young rebel? ... Or,
     plagued with changing consumer values and stinging criticism
     over its labor practices, should the company embrace a new
     role as a conscientious corporate citizen, as Goodby tends
     to advocate?"  For now, Nike's answer "is unclear, as both
     agencies are painfully aware" (ADWEEK, 6/22 issue).
          THE AGENCY'S FUTURE: Voight & Parpis report that Goodby
     "is not exactly enjoying smooth sailing" with its Nike work,
     as creative turnover on the account "has been high."  As for
     Wieden & Kennedy, "the old days are gone."  Even Wieden has
     said, "Nike is not our future.  [Top client] Microsoft is
     our future."  Although people close to the account "remain
     convinced that as long as Knight is part of Nike," Wieden
     will stay in the picture, Voight & Parpis conclude, "there
     comes a time when everyone has to hang up their cleats and
     leave the field for the last time.  Then it's time to move
     on to something new" (ADWEEK, 6/22 issue).

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Related Topics:

Microsoft, Nike, Wieden Kennedy

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