Filias Attempts to Breathe New Life Into Tretorn

The first work by Filias Advertising for Tretorn aims to breath new life into the venerable brand and help launch the company’s spring 2002 line of tennis shoes.

“Our strategy was based on looking at the roots of the brand itself and seeing what made it so memorable and then building on that,” said agency president and creative director Greg Filias.

The work is tagged “Look back. Step forward.” The positioning attempts to tie the brand’s new spring line to the shoe’s heritage, dating back to the classic Nylite model first introduced in leather in 1964 and canvas in 1967. The work “is a combination of retro and the looking-forward approach,” said Filias. The Tretorn brand is aimed at women aged 35 and over.

For the past few years, Tretorn has changed ownership several times; Boulder, Colo.-based Three Towers is now the exclusive licensee of the Tretorn brand for North America. “Our plans are to revive the line,” said C.D. Bodam, president of Three Towers. “The name is still good—a lot of people still remember it.”

The Portsmouth, N.H., agency’s initial Tretorn assignment consists mainly of direct mail pieces, catalogs and related collateral materials supporting the tennis shoes. Those efforts are aimed at the trade community, which the client hopes to reintroduce to the brand before moving ahead with consumer advertising.

Copy on a collateral piece reads in part, “Look back. Tretorn pioneered the sport shoe. From our first canvas, rubber-soled shoe introduced in 1902 to an entire line of stylish, durable and comfortable athletic shoes introduced in the 1930s … Comfort, durability and of course style in a sport shoe have been our trademarks from the start. And that’s just the beginning.”

The Tretorn line of shoes includes the classic Nylite model in canvas and leather as well as modern additions, such as the Mesh Mule.

Tretorn’s heyday came in the 1970s and 1980s when the shoe was the top choice among the tennis elite. Tennis star Bjorn Borg served as a spokesman for the brand.

Filias’ client list also includes New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation, Eastern Propane, St. Mary’s Bank, Sprague Energy and the Salvation Army.