Levi Strauss & Co. has added another horse to its creative stable by bringing in an outside shop to work on a global brand development project, sources said.
Lambesis, Del Mar, Calif., has been working for the past few months on developing a new brand that is set to launch next year under the Levi's umbrella, sources said.
It is unclear whether the new product will be an apparel brand, but sources said it will be "youth-oriented"--an area in which Levi is working to improve its market share.
Robert Holloway, a Levi vice president of marketing, is managing "brand-building efforts" in the youth category and is involved with the Lambesis project, sources said. Levi executives declined to comment.
San Francisco-based Levi is also in "acquisition mode," said sources, and may be tapping Lambesis for "advice on which youth-oriented brands to acquire." John Ermatinger, president of Levi Strauss, the Americas, stated in a recent memo to all corporate global staff that Levi was working to build "a larger portfolio of apparel brands."
While Lambesis currently handles no advertising for Levi, sources said the agency may receive assignments for the new brand. Lambesis held informal talks with Levi executives while the client was reviewing its estimated $70-90 million jeans business earlier this year, sources said.
Chad Farmer, executive creative director at Lambesis, declined to comment. Executives at Levi's lead roster shop, TBWA Chiat/Day in Venice, Calif., and San Francisco, said they were unaware of Lambesis' relationship with the client. Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, which handles the client's Dockers and Slates brands, did not return phone calls.
Lambesis has handled research, brand and product development for other companies. The shop designed and launched Fetish, a fragrance, for former client Renaissance Cosmetics in New York.