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HealthTex Returns To Ad Arena

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Invites Incumbent Martin, Trone, Wiley To Restart Its Marketing
ATLANTA--HealthTex, a division of VF Corp. and manufacturer of infant and children's clothing, has placed its long dormant advertising account into review, inviting a trio of shops to participate. The business has a projected advertising budget of $3 million, according to sources close to the review.
Agencies invited by the client to participate in the pitch are The Martin Agency, based in Richmond, Va.; Trone Advertising, headquartered in Greensboro, N.C. (the client's headquarters city); and Wiley & Associates in Westlake Village, Calif. The latter specializes in marketing communications aimed at female consumers.
Martin was the last shop to have agency of record status on HealthTex, though the client has not advertised its products for more than a year. Advertising spending was minimal in 1997 and nonexistent so far this year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. As recently as 1995, however, advertising expenditures topped $3 million, also according to CMR.
Martin officials last week confirmed that the account has not been active with the agency for more than a year, though the shop has kept HealthTex on its client list during that time.
According to a source close to the review, the North Carolina client has spent the last two years solidifying its relationships with distributors and retailers. Having achieved that, client officials now feel the need to get back into advertising to compete against rivals such as Carters and retailers including the likes of Baby Gap. They are concerned that their brand awareness has eroded during its self-enforced hiatus from marketing.
The Martin Agency has had HealthTex as a client for more than 10 years, winning several awards for the print work it has created on the business. In fact, the agency uses much of its work on that account in its creative credentials presentations.
The Richmond agency also works on two other VF Corp. brands: Wrangler Jeans & Sportswear, also based in Greensboro, and Vanity Fair, a maker of bras and lingerie.
Martin officials declined to comment on the review.
According to sources, the client has scheduled presentations from the three agencies for this week.