Velocity Builds Footwear Cachet

Velocity Advertising last week expanded its fashion portfolio, adding Bennett Footwear Group’s Franco Sarto women’s line to its client roster.

The Boston agency was selected without a review. The advertising budget has not been finalized.

“Velocity’s experience in the footwear category and with brand development in general set the agency apart,” said Gregg Ribatt, chief operating officer of Newton, Mass.-based Bennett Footwear.

The client has not previously worked with an agency. Velocity’s efforts will represent the first domestic promotion of the Franco Sarto line of shoes and accessories. Agency general manager Jennifer Tisdale is overseeing the account.

Franco Sarto shoes are sold nationwide in boutiques and at department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom.

Available in the U.S. for 20 years, Franco Sarto already has good penetration in retail outlets large and small. So rather than target the trade, Velocity is charged with devising strategies to make the brand better known among women 20-40, Ribatt said.

Positioning the foot wear in terms of comfort, fashion and affordability is paramount, he said. The shoes retail for less than $90.

First up for Velocity is a round of focus groups and research aimed at helping the agency create the client’s first Web site, expected to go online in September, Tisdale said.

Advertising efforts, likely to include print executions in fashion publications, could be gin to appear in the fall, Tisdale said.

Velocity has been staking a claim in the retail and footwear niche. This fall the shop breaks a national introductory campaign tagged “Joy becomes you” for HBN Shoes Insolia, a new technol ogy designed to make high heels more comfortable.

Velocity has also helped promote retail chains Just for Feet, Bob’s Stores and The First Years. Other clients include Manulife Financial, Bruegger’s Bagels and ScanSoft.