The leading supplier of baby and toddler clothes in the United States is contacting agencies here and elsewhere about handling all duties on its estimated $2 million advertising account.
The William Carter Co. started its search last month and hopes to hire a shop by August. Its most recent agency, Sietsema Engel & Partners in Minneapolis, folded last spring.
Since then, the Morrow, Ga.-based apparel company has used freelance creative personnel. Its most recent print ad features a close-up of a baby's face and a 1960s tagline: "If they could just stay little 'til their Carter's wear out."
Past Carter shops include Ingalls, Quinn & Johnson in Boston (now Ingalls) and Jordan McGrath Case & Partners here, creator of the old tag.
Carter has usually relied on print ads to position itself as "the favorite brand for young children," said Suzanne Calkins, vice president of licensing and business development, who works at the company's sales office in New York. In the future, however, "our goal is to be a total lifestyle brand," Calkins added.
In each of the past three years, Carter spent $1-2 million on ads, per Competitive Media Reporting. But with a new agency, Calkins said, advertising expenditures are likely to grow.
The William Carter Co. markets baby, toddler and young children's apparel under the brand names Carter's, Carter's Classics and Baby Dior, which are available at 138 outlets and 300 department and specialty stores. Clothes are designed for children up to age 6.
Carter has a 7 percent share of the annual $7 billion baby and toddler apparel market, nearly twice that of its nearest branded rival, the company reported. Market competitors include Health-Tex and Oshkosh B'Gosh. The company's parent, Investcorp, also partially owns Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co.