Under the project, handled by Levi Strauss ad agency Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, registration cards will be placed in every pair of Levi's jeans sold in the U.S. starting in April. Levi's will use the registration process to begin building a customer database, an FCB executive said.
The jeans registration project is the first phase of a twofold direct marketing effort this year. It comes at a difficult time for Levi Strauss, now fighting high overhead costs as other designer jeans brands chase its market share.
The second phase is a $400,000 relationship marketing effort. Levi Strauss denied this is the case.
"We're looking for an agency to conduct a very focused relationship marketing program," said Marketing Manager Brad Williams. "This is a stand-alone assignment for a test . . . We are not reviewing our entire direct business."
Testing, however, is always the first point of departure for any significant direct campaign. National direct marketing represents 20% of Levi Strauss' $100 million account handled by FCB
Miller/Kadanoff, San Francisco; and True North Communications' FCB Direct, New York, and CF2GS, Seattle, are believed to be in the direct review.
Though the review was believed to be down to six agencies, Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York, was pitching Levi Strauss for the business on Feb. 21.
The pitch is a timely one for Wunderman, which expects to handle $50 million in billings from its San Francisco office this year and is working on building up its West Coast business. The agency promoted Paul Smith, exec VP-managing director of its New York and San Francisco offices, to the post of managing director of the San Francisco office.