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PAYLESS SHOES NARROWS AD AGENCY SEARCH

Three Shops Advance to Next Round in Review

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Payless ShoeSource narrowed its search for a new advertising agency to three shops, which will advance to the next round of competition, according to an executive familiar with the matter.
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A Payless spokesman could not be reached at press time.

Winners and losers
Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York; independent Cramer Krasselt, Chicago; and Omnicom Group's Martin Williams, Minneapolis survived the cut. Not proceeding in the review are Publicis' Kaplan Thaler Group, New York; and Omnicom's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco and BBDO Worldwide, New York.

The media portion of the account and the Hispanic and international assignments are not affected by the review, which is being conducted by Joanne Davis Consulting. The review is expected to be completed in time for new advertising to arrive for the fall season.

Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Kansas City, previously handled the Minneapolis-based shoe retailer's account.

$62 million
Payless spent $62 million in measured media in 2003 and $43.5 million in January through October of 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Faced with competition from Wal-Mart Stores for price-conscious shoe shoppers, Payless repositioned its message to focus on fashion, with efforts starting in 2002 featuring talk-show host and self-professed shoe diva Star Jones. The retailer also introduced exclusive lines of athletic footware, including a line endorsed by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal.

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