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Search For Levi's Shoes

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The Stride Rite Corp. is looking for an agency to introduce Levi's Footwear, according to correspondence sent to prospective shops.
The Lexington, Mass.-based client, the licensee for the new product line, mailed a letter dated Nov. 7 to a select group of agencies asking them to discuss their "level of interest in being our advertising/marketing partner."
Stride Rite chairman, president and chief executive officer Robert Siegel, a 29-year veteran of the Levi Strauss & Co. organization, wrote the correspondence and is spearheading the search. Diane Sullivan, group president of licensed brands, and Barbara Bourgault, director of marketing for Levi's Footwear, are also involved in the review process. Siegel and Sullivan could not be reached, and Bourgault declined comment.
Contending shops are scheduled to make creative presentations early this month, with a final decision expected by Christmas, sources said.
Billings were not disclosed in the letter, which does indicate that Stride Rite and Levi Strauss & Co. "will be developing a strong advertising launch over the 1998-2000 period." Sources estimated spending at about $5 million.
The correspondence also explains that the product launch will be aimed at male consumers between the ages of 15 and 22. Sources said the company "might dabble with shoes for women and kids," but the focus is on young men.
It could not be determined at press time whether any Stride Rite roster shops are competing for the Levi's Footwear business.
The Stride Rite children's brand is handled by Toth Design & Advertising in Concord, Mass., and PGR Media in Providence, R.I. Toth is not involved in the contest, an executive at the agency confirmed.
Stride Rite's Keds brand is handled by Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco (which also has the Levi's jeans account, currently in review).
Those relationships are unaffected by the Levi's Footwear review.