Clarks Considers a Number of Regional Players

The domestic division of British footwear company Clarks has been holding talks with agencies and looks to name a shop before month’s end.

Clarks has heard several presentations and has more scheduled, said Cathleen Toomey, director of marketing for the client in Newton, Mass. She declined to discuss the process further, though she emphasized that the competition is closed to additional entrants.

Client executives are meeting with at least a half-dozen agencies, located mainly in the greater Bos ton area, sources said.

Agencies have been told that the Clarks “rebranding assignment” will target both the footwear trade and consumers using various marketing and design strategies, sources said.

Clarks has met with small and midsize shops with at least some footwear or apparel experience.

The client has done almost no media advertising in the past few years, though it has worked with the small Cambridge, Mass., shop Tank Design on collateral, in-store and related materials. Tank could not be reached at press time.

No budget has been firmly established. Spending will probably be modest at first—in the low seven figures at most, sources said. But the budget could grow in the near future as the client looks to better compete against Marks & Spencer, Nine West and others that are more aggressive with their promotions, sources said.

Work will likely encompass both of the client’s major casual footwear brands, Clarks England and Bostonian. Clarks markets both men’s and women’s shoes in various department stores, as well as in 150 U.S. retail outlets.

The parent company, privately held C&J Clark, is located in Somerset, England. It posted 2001 sales of $1.3 billion, a 1.7 percent improve ment over the previous year. Founded in 1825, the com pany remains majority owned by the descendants of co-founder James Clark.