Haute Wrangler Makes Cut

Bayless/Cronin has been eliminated from the estimated $30 million Wrangler Jeans mass market account review, according to chief executive officer Tim Bayless.
The two remaining shops, New York’s Frierson Mee + Kraft and Toth Brand Imaging of Concord, Mass., have both been asked to provide the client with a list of references, sources said.
Bayless said his shop was eliminated because the Greensboro, N.C., client wants an agency to build a more fashion-oriented brand, a tact Bayless/Cronin rejected in its pitch.
“We looked right down the gun barrel of conventional fashion work and said that wasn’t where Wrangler should be as a mass market brand sold in Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target. Wrangler is all about a value system that has nothing to do with fashion,” Bayless said. “Then they headed for the runway and told us to take a hike . . . nicely, of course.”
Toth launched Tommy Hilfiger and currently handles Mossimo, Nautica and Union Bay. FM+K partner Neil Kraft is a former Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren executive.
Wrangler general manager of marketing Mark Clift said a decision may be made this week.
Wrangler’s Western wear account review continues to move much more slowly and/or quietly. Western brand marketing manager Brian Goldberg has not returned phone calls, and Clift said he was not aware of the status of the search. A woman in the Western wear advertising department said she did not know if a cut had been made.