Johnston & Murphy Assigns Account to Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald & Co. has walked off with the Johnston & Murphy advertising account.

The Atlanta agency won the estimated $4-5 million business after a quiet review that included The Richards Group and DDB, both of Dallas.

Seven-year incumbent BaylessCronin, also in Atlanta, parted company with the Nashville, Tenn.-based client in January. Dye, Van Mol & Lawrence in Nashville will continue to handle public relations and event marketing for J&M.

“We did a thorough review,” said Kevin Janiga, vice president of marketing at J&M. “Fitzgerald’s up- front research was very impressive.”

Janiga noted Fitzgerald unveiled some surprising consumer research. The shop gained those insights by interviewing more than 500 customers online as well as videotaping shoppers at J&M and competitors’ stores.

The 150-year-old marketer of men’s shoes has capitalized on the trend towards more casual footwear in the business workplace by broadening its selection. It has also added belts, shoe care products, hosiery and leather outerwear to its inventory, but sales in those categories are lagging.

“What we learned already is that people perceive us as their father’s suit shoe,” said Janiga. “Our image hasn’t moved as quickly as our product portfolio.”

Efforts for the fall advertising campaign include broadcast targeted to younger consumers and print in trade publications.

“They brought us creative that has a lot of tentacles,” said Janiga, referring to work that extends to in-store displays and the company’s catalog. “We were looking for that.”

Lisa Galanti, executive vice president and managing director at Fitzgerald, called Johnston & Murphy a recognized name among older people, but a well-kept secret among other market segments.

“The more powerfully you combine rational product benefits with consumer emotions, the more loyalty you’ll get,” she said. “We can do that with this product.”