Lugz Chooses Amster Yard

McCann Unit Beat 4 Shops For Shoe Maker
NEW YORK–Lugz has awarded its $10 million account to McCann-Erickson’s Amster Yard unit, the first time the growing urban footwear and apparel brand has employed a lead agency, sources said.
“The brand has grown to where we need a full-service shop,” said Lugz executive vice president Larry Schwartz, who had juggled freelancers and in-house talent. Lugz spent around $9 million in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Co Ed, Chicago, had done some TV work for the brand.
Amster is to develop a brand campaign in time for the back-to-school season. Schwartz would not confirm the agency selection, saying final details were being worked out. Sources said Amster won a four-shop review, which also included Foote, Cone & Belding, New York.
The agency’s task will be to extend Lugz’ core urban cachet. According to Schwartz: “We have a core audience of hip-hop consumers. Our challenge is to continue the penetration into the suburban market without losing any of our urban appeal.”
By contrast, shoe brands like Timberland and New Balance started with mainstream ads and developed inner- city afficionados almost by accident.
Lugz’ U.S. wholesale non-apparel sales surged from $90 million in 1997 to $156 million last year, per Sporting Goods Intelligence.