Tommy Hilfiger’s $30 Mil. Ad Assignment In Review

Tommy Hilfiger is conducting a review for its estimated $30 million advertising account, sources said last week.
Hilfiger, whose U.S. account is handled by Toth Design & Advertising in Concord, Mass., is considering three New York shops: DDB Needham, Deutsch and Cliff Freeman and Partners. Toth declined comment and the client did not return calls.
The contenders will meet with four senior executives from the company this week, including Hilfiger himself, who plans to attend the credentials presentations. Peter Connolly, senior vice president of global marketing at Hilfiger, is overseeing the search, sources said. Earlier, the Advertising Agency Register issued blind questionnaires to shops on behalf of the designer.
The AAR and contenders all either declined comment or did not return calls.
Hilfiger is known for its trendy clothes, which have become popular among urban teens. Tommy Jeans compete against other designer labels such as Guess?, CK Jeans, Nautica and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Jeans.
Hilfiger, Polo and Nautica combined hold nearly a 50 percent share of the men’s sportswear market, according to Montgomery Securities.
The current TV campaign for Tommy Jeans, aimed at 16-24 year olds, features celebrity offspring discussing how they inherited their personalities from their parents. The tagline is: “It’s in the jeans.” Kentaro Seagal, son of actor Steven Seagal, and Jesse Wood, whose dad is Rolling Stones’ guitarist Ron Wood, appear in the ads.
The strategy has also been used for Hilfiger’s fragrances, which include Tommy Girl.
Next April, the designer will introduce Hilfiger Athletics, a sports-oriented men’s apparel and fragrance line. The ad campaign, in development at Toth, will feature the sons and daughters of famous athletes such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Hilfiger spent nearly $20 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting. PGR Media, Providence, R.I., handles media chores.