The Wall Street Journal (paid sub. req.) is running an eye opener this morning—a feature on how Nike is looking for better digital content, something Wieden + Kennedy has been unable to deliver to the sportswear brand’s critical youth market.
Industry executives say the move was a wake-up call to Madison Avenue. The message is clear: No matter how talented an agency’s creative team or how well the client’s management likes the firm’s executives, the agency is of limited value unless it embraces digital media.
Wieden had hired some digital thinkers, but they were scattered through its offices around the globe. It wasn’t until earlier this year, when it hired Renny Gleeson, a digital expert who had a top job at Aegis Group’s Carat Fusion, that the shop began to take digital more seriously and teach digital know-how to the rest of its troops.
Even so, Wieden could be doing more, people at the firm admit. Digital has long been “an afterthought here,” says a person at the agency. “We do it but haven’t done it to the level we need to.”
The article goes on to say Dan Wieden passed last summer on the opportunity to partner with AKQA, a move that might have prevented Nike from looking elsewhere.