VML Wins AOR Duties for Your Favorite Mid-’90s Mall Chain, Express

By Patrick Coffee 

Get ready to flash back to your mallrat heyday: retailer Express has chosen VML as its new agency of record after a review.

We personally hadn’t thought of Express in at least 15 years, but the chain, which specializes in “targeting the 20 to 30-year old customer,” ended its recent review by picking the Kansas City-base WPP network.

Now that agency will handle “marketing, paid media, search, analytics and consumer sales optimization” while the chain’s in-house team continues with creative.


You may have forgotten Express like we did, but the company has been around for 35 years and survived the spinoff and re-absorption of its men’s-only sister chain Structure. It still maintains a design studio in Manhattan and employs about 18,000 people in more than 600 locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, but not Canada: in May Express announced that it would close all operations north of the border in a move equivalent to American bankruptcy.

Stock prices have also dropped quite a bit over the past year-plus as Express continues running headlong into the same problems faced by every other brick-and-mortar retail organization. The exact size of the account is unclear.

The brand’s campaigns usually include celebrity/influencer stuff and iPhone-style videos like this one, wherein some guys play big band music in New Orleans while wearing jeans with suits and ties.