It was a big year of rugby for adidas and TBWA\ was behind much of the work done to leverage its sponsorship of the All Blacks. ‘All In’ and Stand in Black were solid campaigns, but for many they were overshadowed by the PR shitstorm that ensued after the jersey price debacle.
And as the global sports giant shifts its focus away from rugby and towards other sports, so the focus also shifts away from the New Zealand branch and towards the two agencies it uses in Australia.
As always, TBWA\’s Dave Walden was keen to help us out: “It’s a non-story”, “it must be a slow news day” and “people are just making mischief”.
He said TBWA\ was the agency of record and he confirmed the big All Blacks projects will still be done in the homeland.
But the fact is a decision has been made to shift some of the responsibility to Australia, where it uses a dual agency strategy with TBWA\ Melbourne and retail-focused Iris.
Walden said this was partly due to the fact that the rugby work is cyclical and, because it’s not a huge money-spinner for adidas, it ramps up the activity every few years.
He wouldn’t comment on whether the handling of the jersey issue had anything to do with the decision, aside from saying research showed the brand had quickly recovered from the negativity associated with it and was back to being seen as a prime supporter after the All Blacks’ win.
But it’s fair to assume the poor PR crisis management in this part of the world and the damage it did to the brand probably didn’t go down too well with the powers that be.
Adidas’ David Huggett didn’t return our call.
This story originally appeared on StopPress.