Holland Mark Comes to Earth

Holland Mark Advertising has been chosen to relaunch Earth Shoes, the footwear brand popular in the 1970s.

The Boston agency succeeds crosstown shop Pagano Schenck & Kay on the account.

Holland Mark added Earth Shoes following a review of undisclosed area shops, said agency president Chris Colbert.

Pagano picked up the business earlier this year following a review of undisclosed agencies [Adweek, March 13]. Agency and client split shortly thereafter, unable to agree on issues mainly related to media spending and compensation, said Pagano president Beau Fraser.

“We weren’t really ready to do the launch [at that time],” said client official Charlie Liberge.

Spending through Holland Mark for the print campaign will initially be in the low seven-figures; trade ads will break in the first quarter, with consumer efforts appearing shortly thereafter, according to Colbert .

Though Holland Mark concedes that Earth Shoes is small in terms of budget, agency executives believe the client can provide an excellent creative showcase.

Marty McDonald and Rob Stewart, agency vice presidents and creative directors, were anxious to add the business and led the pitch team that won the account. “It’s an opportunity to relaunch a cool brand,” McDonald said.

Earth Shoes feature heels at the front of the foot, rather than at the back, an innovation intended to improve posture and increase back support, especially for workers who spend long hours on their feet.

The shoes were designed in 1957 by Danish yoga instructor Anne Kals, and the brand in 1970 was licensed to New York distributors Raymond and Eleanor Jacobs. The Jacobs changed the name from Anne Kals Minus Heel Shoes to Earth Shoes in honor of Earth Day. The brand attained a devoted following until 1979, when production ceased. Michael Meynard, a Framingham, Mass.-based footwear manufacturer and distributor, bought the patent rights in the mid-1990s.

Holland Mark has been on something of a new-business run of late as it prepares to part with more than $20 million in assignments from TJX Cos. The agency recently added work from Abridge and Persumma Financial.