Dockers Loses Marketing Chief

In a move that adds more uncertainty to its advertising plans, the vice president of marketing at Levi Strauss & Co.’s Dockers division is moving on.
Richard Hanson–who works closely with Dockers agency Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco–is to become Levi’s vice president of brand development in Europe. He will assume his new post in late September, said a company representative. A replacement here has not been named.
Earlier this year, Hanson replaced FCB’s summer TV campaign with a spot by Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London, which handles the brand in Europe [Adweek, July 20]. FCB is working on a new campaign for late fall.
Hanson was to head to Europe in 1999, but the acceleration of his move is seen as a vote of confidence in his handling of Dockers and its agencies.
“The change in executives will make FCB feel even more under the gun,” said an agency source. “BBH is aggressive and well-liked by the client. A new vice president [will add] more uncertainty to FCB’s situation.”
The San Francisco company is in a worldwide sales slump. Particularly hard hit are U.S. jeans sales, which makes the growing Dockers brand increasingly important to the client’s bottom line, said sources. Dockers worldwide sales are expected to match jeans sales by 2000, per industry reports.
Ad spending for Dockers will likely equal spending on Levi’s jeans this year and may outpace that amount in 1999, said sources. Levi spent nearly $50 million on ads for jeans and about $30 million for Dockers in 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting.
The company last year reported a 4 percent drop in sales, to $6.9 billion, its first decline in 13 years.
In other recent personnel shifts, Levi promoted Gordon Shank to the new post of chief marketing officer and company veteran Rob Holloway to the new job of vice president brand development for the Americas.
–with Jane Irene Kelly