Best Feet Forward

Keds’ upcoming “American style” campaign from Toth Brand Imaging may represent the agency’s last chance to hang onto the estimated $7-10 million account, according to sources.

And another Boston agency, Modernista!, has unveiled its “Shine” campaign for Converse, the client’s first advertising since its emergence from bankruptcy last year.

Keds has solicited branding ideas in recent weeks from agencies in an effort to help shake off a lingering sales slump, sources said, and shops have already “informally” presented advertising concepts. Client and agency officials have issued strong denials that a review or account shift is planned. Terri Rawson, vp of marketing at the Stride Rite unit in Cambridge, Mass., and Toth chief operating officer Dick Emerson did not return calls last week.

Keds is struggling to reverse a long decline in sales and popul arity. The company has said it anticipates an 11 percent drop in 2001 sales.

Toth invokes patriotic themes for Keds and introduces the new positioning line, “American style.” The effort, which breaks next month, employs playful and lighthearted im agery. Sneaker-clad models are shown cavorting in a photo booth, playing on a swing set, running through a sprinkler and riding on a schooner. Past campaigns used the line, “Keds. Every. Wear.”

The work will appear in March issues of Glamour, In Style, Red book and Self. Full-page ads will be accompanied by one-third-page units that support national sales events and provide consumers with promotion dates and details.

Converse tapped Modernista! in October to help reintroduce its sneaker brand in an estimated $6-10 million effort. Ads will appear in magazines such as Spin and Slam.

In one ad, two arms are shown straining toward a basketball high in the air. There is no copy except for the tagline. The well-known black-star Converse logo is also shown. Another execution shows a man wearing Converse high-tops hanging off the rim of a basketball hoop. The ads offer the perspective of being underneath the players.