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KEDS, PUMA PICK UP PACE IN SHOE MARKETING EFFORTS;FCB AND GYRO GAIN ACCOUNTS; PREPARING NEW ADVERTISING

By Published on .

Keds Corp. and Puma, two well-known but underperforming brands in the U.S. footwear market, are changing their ad agencies and embarking on new strategies.

Keds is consolidating its estimated $10 million account at Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco. Toth Advertising, Boston, was the incumbent.

Earlier this year, Keds gave FCB a $5 million to $10 million assignment to launch a new line of kids shoes, Magic Rays, that change color when exposed to light.

ADS BREAK IN MARCH

The Magic Rays TV spot breaks March 3 on Nickelodeon. About the same time, Keds will kick off a corporate branding campaign from FCB, mostly in women's fashion magazines.

"We're going to be breaking new creative ground with the introduction of Magic Rays, and now we'll have the opportunity to extend that level of creativity to the whole Keds brand," said Jack Boland, FCB*president.

"FCB's full-service capacity was the main reason [behind] our consolidation," said Mary Obana, Keds VP-marketing.

Recently hired Keds President Joanna Jacobsen, a former Converse ad executive known for branding and expertise in kids and casual footwear, and her new marketing team are behind the new product, the agency change and the branding focus.

NEW PARTNER

At Puma, Monarchy/Regency, Hollywood's leading independent film producer, last week entered into a strategic alliance with the footwear marketer, buying a 12.5% equity position in the German company.

Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz said the alliance will yield several new marketing programs that will raise Puma's profile and improve its poor U.S. distribution.

"Sports, movies and footwear advertising: It's all entertainment," he said.

Puma also is changing agencies.

"We're adding another partner to help us in our efforts to market Puma in the U.S.," Mr. Zeitz said.

Although he wouldn't name that agency, it appears to be Gyro, Philadelphia.

ANNOUNCEMENT NOV. 20

Puma U.S. President Herb Elliot later said the company will announce its new agency on Nov. 20, as well as a major new campaign for the second generation of its Cell Speed shoe line. And Gyro is handling that campaign.

Earle Palmer Brown, Philadelphia, had held Puma's U.S. account, estimated at $1 million, since last year.

Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, London, handles Puma outside the U.S. and won't be affected by the pending agency announcement.

In the global athletic footwear market, Puma is seventh with sales of $383 million in 1995; U.S. sales last year were $40 million.

Keds' sales worldwide in '95 reached $360 million, ninth best, with U.S. sales at $245 million.

Contributing: Mark Gleason.

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