It isn’t always necessary to go as far as presenting a pitch to win an account; it can be achieved much earlier at the Chemistry stage when working with an experienced pitch intermediary company. This was proven when the Independent Agency Selection Company, (IAS) handled the adidas South Africa’s bid for an agency to execute a campaign on their behalf.
adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Germany and Europe and the second biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world. As a selection company it was IAS’s job to deliver productive dialogue between adidas and agencies, building more collaboration and ultimately ensuring a good match between client and agencies.
The Chemistry session is the second last elimination stage of the selection process. It does exactly what it says. It creates an opportunity to meet with agencies before the final pitch takes place to see ‘how’ the chemistry works between both parties. Sometimes, a pitch process can end at the Chemistry stage, where a more specialist set of capabilities and/or particular market knowledge/experience is identified. “This is one of the unique ways in which we counsel clients and agencies. Sometimes the process ends at this stage, as was the case with adidas,“ says IAS, MD, Johanna McDowell.
During the process on behalf of adidas, IAS and the client were not sure if one or two agencies would win the pitch as there were two distinctly different parts of the adidas business which needed to be serviced.
“The process worked so well that client was able to make a selection of the two leading agencies in the process and start working with them on two long term projects. In this way client was able to test out the capabilities of each one in a live situation,” explains McDowell. “This also saved time and money and allowed each agency to build a rewarding relationship with the client,” explains McDowell.
“What made this situation different is that the two winning agencies selected after Chemistry stage – MACHINE and 140 BBDO – were not in competition with each other because of the different projects they worked on. Even more rewarding was that both projects and their campaigns went on to win two different sports marketing awards at the Discovery Sport Industry Awards held in Sandton on the 13th of February 2014.
This was a first for adidas.
MACHINE took the honours for the adidas Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon for Best Sponsorship and Best Sponsorship of a sport event or campaign. Says adidas South Africa’s Senior Brand Marketing Manager, Bradley Stern: “We are thrilled to have won the award for ‘Best Sponsorship of a Sports Event or Competition’ at the Discovery Sports Industry Awards last month. This was awarded to adidas for our sponsorship and through the line campaign for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon.
Accepting this award on behalf of adidas South Africa was Bradley Stern, Senior Brand Marketing Manager: “We are thankful for the creative work and conceptualization by MACHINE of the second stint of the #myjourney campaign. This was an integral part of the full sponsorship of the event. #myjourney evolved in the build up to this years ‘world’s most beautiful marathon’ and plays a large role in our marketing efforts around our running category.”
140 BBDO took the Best Sponsorship of a Sport Team or Individual for the adidas campaign for Orlando Pirates: Black is Back. As part of the campaign 140 BBDO also designed an innovative online platform to bring Orlando Pirates fans even closer to the legendary team. allinpirates.co.za, the adidas Orlando Pirates digital hub was designed to encourage more engagement with the club by rewarding loyal fans for their ongoing support.
Group planning director at 140 BBDO, Matt Riley, said: “To be judged by some of the most respected and awarded marketers in the country, and walk away with such an accolade is a brilliant achievement for us and our client adidas.”
In previous years adidas had entered the Sport Industry Awards but had never won. This year they walked away with two awards proving that the right creative and chemistry does wonders. Through their pitch process IAS matched adidas to two great agencies, one dealing with adidas Sports Assets (Orlando Team) and the other for the Clothing and sportswear (Two Oceans Marathon).
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