Naturalizer Trying On Shops

The Brown Group in St. Louis is evaluating agencies to handle advertising for its Naturalizer brand, a $5 million account, sources said.
Gregory Van Gasse, the Brown executive believed to be spearheading the review, could not be reached for comment. A former marketing executive at Florsheim in Chicago, Van Gasse joined Brown earlier this year as president of the branded marketing division.
The creative portion of Naturalizer’s advertising has been with Louis London in St. Louis for several years. The agency is expected to defend the business.
Naturalizer is both a shoe brand and a retail operation. Sources said the company is looking to freshen the brand’s image. The company has contacted shops in Chicago, Texas and New York, sources said.
Media buying is at Dewees, Mottert & Krieger in St. Louis.
Brown spent $5.3 million on advertising last year for Naturalizer, and $3.7 million through August of this year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
In addition to the approximately 450 Naturalizer stores in the U.S. and Canada and the footwear brand itself, Brown owns Famous Footwear and shoe lines including Buster Brown for children, Air Step and Life Stride for women and Big Country and Cedar Trail for men.
Print advertising for Naturalizer has focused on comfort and the “wearever” quality of the footwear. One ad’s headline reads, “Shoes as essential as a forgiving pair of jeans.” Another reads, “Shoes as essential as a really sharp suit.