Payless, Stride Rite Move to Optimedia

NEW YORK The Payless ShoeSource and Stride Rite units of Collective Brands have hired Publicis Groupe’s Optimedia to handle media planning and buying following a review.

The contract covers North American general-market and Hispanic duties for Payless as well as chores on Stride Rite brands including Stride Rite, Keds, Saucony and Sperry Top-Sider.

In the U.S. alone, 2007 ad spending for all brands moving to Optimedia exceeded $80 million, with all but approximately $2 million of that outlay supporting Payless, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Incumbent Mediaedge:cia elected not to defend, though its Bravo unit will continue as the buying and planning agency for Payless in Puerto Rico.

Optimedia bested two other agencies in the final round of a review: PHD, part of the Omnicom Media Group, and Spark Communications, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group.

Optimedia president Antony Young pointed to offering a “fresh perspective under the current environment” as one of the main factors in winning the business. “Through the review process, we were able to bring a unique perspective to connect with their customers and drive traffic, a crucial challenge in this current economic climate. We are excited to apply our strategic approach to get their brand communications seen and heard by more shoppers for the company,” he said.

“Optimedia was selected based on its superior insights into our current and potential customers, strategic capabilities and creative ideas for media delivery,” added Matt Rubel, CEO of Collective Brands.