4 Take Wing in Pursuit of Duck Head Apparel

Buntin Group Grounds Itself, Citing Changes at Georgia Clothier
ATLANTA-Duck Head Apparel, in the midst of an account review, has trimmed the flock of applicants to four agencies.
Janet Kane, head of the clothier’s marketing department in Monroe, Ga., said that the quartet of shops would pitch the week of June 14. Those agencies are 360, Atlanta, which is currently working with the client on a project basis; Doe-Anderson, Louisville, Ky.; Lewis Communications, Birmingham, Ala.; and Hanson Dodge, Milwaukee.
Kane said incumbent The Buntin Group of Nashville, Tenn., declined an invitation to defend the business.
The incumbent’s president, Jeffrey Buntin, said that his agency had worked on and off with Duck Head over the past 15 years in what he called “a love-hate relationship.”
He noted that The Buntin Group had won several regional Addys for its Duck Head advertising in the past decade, but opted out of the review because “the company went through a series of changes and there were no media dollars available . . . We didn’t want to do point-of-sale project work.”
Duck Head recently recruited a new president and chairman in Bob Rockey, who is a past president of Levi’s Jeans North America. Parent company Delta Woodside of Greenville, S.C., after several attempts to sell Duck Head, now plans to spin off the entity into a separate freestanding company as of June 30.
A representative for one of agencies pitching Duck Head, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “Their focus has narrowed very decidedly to a young 18-24-year-old demographic . . . a completely new look on life for Duck Head.”
Once synonymous with khaki pants, Duck Head has struggled of late against rivals like The Gap and Dockers.
Kane would not reveal the annual budget, but estimated billings would be “comparable” to 1998’s total. According to Competitive Media Reporting, Duck Head spent $880,000 last year.
Kane said an agency decision would be made before the end of June. Duck Head will continue to employ Jody Donohue & Associates, New York, for public relations. ƒ