Hill Stretches Rockport’s Global Footprint

NEW YORK Rockport will harness the power of its parent company in a new campaign themed, “Rockport, now powered by Adidas.”

The effort, the first for Rockport from Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston since it won the account in February, is central to the brand’s strategy of using the Adidas name to significantly boost its global presence. Rockport became an Adidas unit as part of the latter’s Reebok acquisition in 2006.

To underscore the adidas connection, the ads highlight Rockport’s Torsion casual and dress collection, which is based on a cushioning and support technology of the same name developed by adidas.

“Five years ago, we were a U.S.-centric brand that had a small international business,” said Rick Paterno, president and CEO of Rockport in Canton, Mass. “Today, we are global.”

Paterno said international sales contributed to 36 percent of Rockport’s revenues in 2006. He expects that to exceed 50 percent by ’08. Rockport’s 2006 gross sales were $400 million, according to the company.

The Torsion campaign will include print in men’s lifestyle publications. Support includes outdoor, a microsite at Rockport.com launching in August and a pop-up store in September during New York’s Fashion Week to more closely align the brand with a young, more fashionable consumer, Paterno said.

Although spending for the campaign was not specified, the company said that its 2007 media budget would be a slight increase over 2006, with a larger increase set for 2008. Rockport’s ad spend was $5 million in ’06, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Rockport’s lead agency had been independent Modernista!, also of Boston.