Wrangler Europe picks AMV BBDO for new burst of expansion

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BRUSSELS -- Wrangler Europe has picked U.K.- based Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO to help pull the brand up to a clear No 2 position behind Levi's, backed by an adspend up 10-20% in its key U.K. and German markets.

The $25m creative account was won from TBWA Brussels following a final three-way pitch with fellow London agencies GGT and Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters. Media planning and buying across Europe remains with the recently-appointed CIA Medianetwork.

"We've set ourselves a very aggressive growth plan for the brand over the next two years and we didn't feel (TBWA's work) was the route to drive the brand image to the level which would support our sales drive," says Marketing Director David Smith, who joined the company last month from sister U.S. outfit Lee to replace Juan Munoz. "Levi's dominates in most countries. Then there is a group of brands behind. Our key short term objective is to break out of that group."

Plans are to beef up marketing efforts in established markets and to extend rapidly Wrangler's distribution in developing markets such as Italy, the Benelux countries and Scandinavia. The company's strategy is to partner "key retailers" throughout Europe rather than open its own stores.

AMV BBDO's first work, which will appear in the first quarter of next year, will continue to be "based solidly on authentic Western values," says Smith.

Eventually, AMV's brief could extend into the Asia- Pacific region, although no decision has been made. Currently TBWA Hong Kong handles that area, but Smith says the region is likely to "begin following the lead of Europe." Similarly, he says, Wrangler's South America operations will be more influenced by the ad route taken at the company's U.S. headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina. That office uses the Lowe Group's Martin Agency in the same state.

The Brussels-based Wrangler Europe's current campaign - "Every pair tells a story" - which launched last January, will continue to the end of this year. It was created by TBWA/Chiat Day in Los Angeles, the U.S., and run through TBWA Brussels. Wrangler Europe is a subsidiary of VF Europe.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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