Tommy Hilfiger has split with its agency, AG, and is handing lead creative duties on its $70 million ad business to Deutsch.
"We're very excited to have a blue-chip brand like Tommy on our roster," said Kathy Delaney, partner and executive creative director at Deutsch here.
Deutsch and president of global marketing Peter Connolly go way back: Deutsch handled a Super Bowl project for Hilfiger in 1998 and Connelly was a client of Deutsch's at Ikea until a few years ago.
AG chairman Peter Arnell said he resigned the account last Thursday, the same day a fashion review in The New York Times termed Hilfiger's new Western-themed collection "pedestrian." The same review heaped praise upon unknown designer Lola Faturoti, and went on to note that Faturoti's show had been backed with $60,000 from Arnell.
The incident was the latest in the up-and-down relationship between the client and AG. The agency's first work for Hilfiger in 1998 featured models lying around seductively in what appeared to be the Oval Office. When the Monica Lewinsky scandal unfolded, they were yanked. Later ads featured rock stars Lenny Kravitz, the Rolling Stones and Britney Spears. AG's work, however, was criticized as inconsistent compared to that of previous shop Toth Brand Imaging. Hilfiger recently moved about $25 million in tasks, including its jeans work, to Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners here. Those duties are unaffected by the switch, as is media at PGR in Providence, R.I.
AG here, formerly known as Arnell Group Brand Consulting, is shifting its focus away from advertising to a brand consultancy concept.
Sources said Connolly is not a fan of reviews and prefers a two-agency structure. He could not be reached last week. --with Andrew McMains