Duck Head Seeks Creative, Media Plan

Duck Head clothing was a preppy badge of honor for well-clad young men in the Southeast during the 1980s.

After its sales peaked in 1992 at $130 million, the line was hard-hit by competition from bigger brands, according to Hoover’s Online. Sales had dropped to $53 million by 2000, the most recent figure available.

Goody’s Family Clothing in Knoxville, Tenn., acquired Duck Head in June and seeks an ad agency to revive the brand, which had not been advertised for four years under two owners. Duties include providing a creative strategy and media plan.

Vying for the business are The Buntin Group, Nashville, Tenn., which handled the brand in the mid-’90s; One Source and Omnicom Group’s BBDO, both Atlanta; and Lawler Ballard Van Durand, Birmingham, Ala. A decision is expected this month.

John Wise, svp of marketing, store planning and visual, said the retailer plans to launch a Duck Head women’s and children’s line, to be handled by the new agency.

Goody’s spent an estimated $15-20 million on ads for its stores in 2002, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Duck Head asked the shops to include spending proposals in their presentations, Wise said.

Media buying and creative execution will remain in-house, Wise said.

Sandeep Dayal, chief marketing officer at Atlanta’s Zyman Marketing Group, said the new shop “in some ways [is] starting from the ground up” because the previous positioning as a hip, durable, outdoorsy brand may not be relevant.

Another analyst said the challenge is entering the women’s-clothing market. “The khaki pant is well-established in men’s clothing,” said Richard Maddox, managing partner at Brand Developers in Atlanta. “But I’m not sure Duck Head as a brand has much feminine appeal.”