MMB Nabs Clarks’ U.S. Creative

McCarthy Mambro Ber tino has won the domestic creative account of British footwear com pany Clarks.

The Boston shop will attempt to reposition the conservative Clarks and Bostonian brands through a print campaign that targets style-conscious young adults. The client may spend as much as $10 million in 2003 as it looks to compete against Naturalizer, Nine West and others that have been more aggressive with their promotions, sources said.

MMB won the business following a review that included other, undisclosed smaller and midsize Northeast shops. Clarks of late has done virtually no domestic advertising, though it had worked with Tank Design in Cambridge, Mass., on some point-of-purchase and collateral projects. U.S. media chores have yet to be awarded.

“Our biggest challenge will be trying to make sure we’re connecting with as many consumers as possible and taking the [brand] to a slightly younger [audience],” said MMB CEO Joe McCarthy.

Work set to break in the first quarter must appeal to younger shoppers while continuing to target Clarks’ core customer base of 25- to 40-year-old comfort seekers, said Robert Kiel, who recently was named vp of marketing at Newton, Mass.-based Clarks. Kiel assumed the newly created position after five years in marketing and management roles at the company. Increased synergy between its Clarks and Bostonian brands is another key goal, according to Kiel.

Clarks markets men’s and women’s shoes in various department stores and in 150 U.S. retail outlets. The parent company, privately held C&J Clark, is located in Somerset, England. It posted 2001 sales of $1.3 billion, a 1.7 percent improvement over the previous year. (U.S. sales figures were not available.) Founded in 1825, the company remains majority owned by the descendants of co-founder James Clark.

“Some of us have footwear experience, so getting back in the category is exciting,” said McCarthy, who was global director of adver tising at Nike in Beaverton, Ore., from 1993-96.

To supplement MMB’s marketing, Clarks has brought aboard Utility Inc. of Seattle to create point-of-purchase materials.

MMB has been picking up momentum lately with recent wins Tweeter and Infogrames. Other clients include Jiffy Lube, Thomasville Furniture and British Telecom.