Davidandgoliath’s Job: Restore LA Gear’s Buzz

LOS ANGELES Athletic and lifestyle footwear company LA Gear has hired independent davidandgoliath to rebuild its iconic 1980s brand, the agency said this week.

The shop’s initial effort, set to break in November, will include a series of ads featuring National Basketball Association forward Ron Artest, according to a rep for the Los Angeles agency. The multimedia campaign will coincide with LA Gear’s launch of a signature sports-shoe line inspired by the Indiana Pacer.

Davidandgoliath will also handle creative and media duties for LA Gear’s line of women’s fashion sneakers, expected to launch in spring 2005.

Although LA Gear was an athletic shoe staple in the ’80s—especially among teenagers and aerobics instructors—its popularity declined in the ’90s: Toward the end of the decade, the company was known best as the manufacturer of kids’ shoes outfitted with flashing lights.

According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, LA Gear’s annual ad budget dwindled from $36 million in 1990 to $25 million in 1992; between 1998 and 2003, it did not record any spend at all. Davidandgoliath said the client’s estimated ad spend for the next 12 to 18 months is between $2 million and $3 million.

David Angelo, agency chairman and chief creative officer, said that LA Gear can “make the same kind of comeback” as Izod and LeTigre, among other 1980s fashion icons. “We understand the role of challenger brands and their need to outthink their often larger rivals in the marketplace,” he said.

Los Angeles-based ACI International acquired LA Gear in 2001; the corporation plans to “aggressively expand” into apparel and licensing arenas, an agency rep said.