Uniqlo Seeks Creative Agency Amid U.S. Marketing Push

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A shopper walks into a UNIQLO clothing store.
A shopper walks into a UNIQLO clothing store. Credit: Sean Pavone/iStock

Uniqlo is seeking a creative agency partner in the U.S., according to people with knowledge of the matter. The review comes as the Japanese apparel brand looks to increase awareness and amplify marketing efforts in the states.

In March, Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing, hosted a New York-based preview of its upcoming fall and winter lines, including new designer collaborations. At the time, Yuki Katsuta, senior VP-global research and design, said "marketing is critically important in the U.S.," noting that the strategy goes beyond increasing its store count and is more about communicating Uniqlo's brand identity.

Representatives from Uniqlo did not respond to inquiry for comment about the creative agency search.

Last year, Uniqlo, working on a project basis with Droga5, debuted its first global marketing campaign. The more than half-dozen videos posed philosophical queries, asking "Why do we get dressed?" and "What can a sweater say about you?" Droga5 continues to work with Uniqlo in international markets. The 1,700-unit chain also works with Dentsu in Japan.

Though Uniqlo has been in the U.S. for over a decade, it has had trouble expanding beyond its current fleet of around 45 stores as it competes with a host of players, from fast-fashion brands to department stores. And these days, apparel comes last on a consumer's shopping list as customers gravitate toward electronics and experiences instead.

Uniqlo, which spent $6.1 million on U.S. measured media in 2016, according to Kantar Media, recently hired Rebekka Bay, a fashion veteran who has worked at Everlane, Gap and Cos, as creative director. John C. Jay, formerly of Wieden & Kennedy, serves as president of global creative.

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