C.F. Hathaway Shirt Co.

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C.F. Hathaway Co. of Waterville, Me., established in 1837, pioneered the ready-to-wear shirt business in the U.S. After operating for more than 100 years with no advertising, the shirtmaker contacted David Ogilvy and asked him to handle the account. Hathaway's ad budget was only $30,000, but the company promised Mr. Ogilvy that if he took the account, it would never fire him nor would it ever alter his copy. The agreement stood for more than 20 years.

Mr. Ogilvy came up with the idea of using a distinguished-looking model with a patch over one eye to give the ad "story appeal," a provocative element in the creative concept to build attention and memorability.

In 1983, Hathaway left Ogilvy & Mather and moved to Eric Mower & Associates. No reason was given, but there was speculation that Hathaway was too small to remain with such a large agency. At that time, its advertising budget was approximately $1 million; during its association with Mower, Hathaway's budget never topped $2 million.

Mower kept the eye-patch image but refreshed it by including real "Hathaway men" in its ads. The list of models asked to don the eye patch during the seven years Mower had the account included media entrepreneur Ted Turner, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Connally, author John Naisbitt and Marriott Corp. executive J.W. Marriott. Although the campaign was successful in maintaining a strong brand image, sales suffered as Americans began to dress more casually and the demand for dress shirts declined.

In 1988, Hathaway left Mower for TBWA Chiat/Day. After a brief stay at TBWA, however, the account moved in-house.

In May 1996, Warnaco, which had acquired the marketer earlier, announced that the two plants producing Hathaway branded shirts would close. A six-month cooperative effort by workers, union officials, business and government saved the plants, and an investment group led by former Maine Governor John McKernan bought the Hathaway plant and label.

In 2001, the venerable shirtmaker was sold again, this time to Westport, Conn.-based Windsong. In October 2002, however, the marketer closed its doors.

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