Meridian Impresses S&K

“Fresh’ Virginians Acquire Retail Clothier’s $12 Mil.
ATLANTA-After four years without an agency, S&K Famous Brands last week hired The Meridian Group to handle its $12 million advertising account.
Meridian, based in Virginia Beach, Va., with satellite operations in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., will be responsible for strategic marketing programs, television and print advertising concepts and execution, media consulting, public relations and interactive communications.
Media will continue to be placed by the client.
The Richmond, Va.-based account went to Meridian after a review of undisclosed shops.
“We felt they were really fresh,” said S&K vice president of advertising and marketing Laura O’Grady. “They had really done a lot of research into the menswear category. And we liked the people involved-there was a really good chemistry.”
S&K operates 235 stores in 27 states, primarily in the East. The retailer offers its products-primarily men’s suits-at 20-40 percent below department store prices. Billing itself as “America’s suit store,” S&K has used baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench in its advertising for several years.
“We’ve been operating [with] an in-house agency for four years,” O’Grady said. “We felt we needed some outside insights.”
According to agency president Eric Lackey, Meridian proposed a new direction in the client’s marketing efforts.
“We came in with a totally different strategy,” he said. “It’s different from what they have been doing. It’s what they asked us to do [during the review].”
Lackey said Bench was still under contract and would be used in advertising. He added that there would likely be some new work that would not feature the former Cincinnati Reds catcher.
“Because they have been around for 25 years, their customer base was getting older,” Lackey said. “We’re going to try and speak to some new customers.” ƒ