Riding Growth, Candie’s Seeks Shop

Seeking To Enter New Categories, Client To Spend $25 Mil. Next Year
NEW YORK–Candie’s, which plans to boost its ad budget to $25 million next year, is looking for an agency to help market its new jeans and fragrance lines.
Candie’s advertising is now developed through a collaboration between the client’s longtime marketing consultant, InMarketing in Glen Cove, N.Y., and its in-house advertising group. The new shop would become the third member of Candie’s ad team.
David Conn, director of marketing for the Purchase, N.Y.-based company, is in the process of meeting with about five shops. Location is not a factor in the review. “It’s a global village now,” he said.
Duties could include strategy, creative tasks, promotions, interactive assignments and media buying, currently handled in-house. Overall, Conn says the company wants to “evolve our brand into a mega-brand.”
“We’re looking for great creative and strategic thinkers,” said Conn. “Anything is possible.”
A recent ad campaign for Candie’s redesigned 1970s wooden shoes was considered controversial. Both Vogue and Cosmopolitan rejected a print execution that featured entertainer Jenny McCarthy sitting on the toilet.
The current campaign features entertainers Brandy, Shania Twain, Lisa Loeb and Li’l Kim. Both of those efforts were the result of the Candie’s/InMarketing collaboration. The client uses no tagline, relying instead on its logo. Conn said the logo will be used in future campaigns.
While Candie’s is known primarily as a shoe and bag marketer, a recent partnership with Liz Claiborne and an agreement to acquire the Bongo Jeans label will give the company entries into the fragrance and jeans categories, respectively.
Both Conn and Dari Marder, president of InMarketing, are hoping a creative shop will help the company maintain its momentum while launching the new lines. “There’s definitely a need for help,” said Conn.
Candie’s spent $2 million on advertising in the first six months of 1998 and $2 million in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The increase in next year’s ad budget stems from the company’s goal to reach $1 billion in revenue within the next five years, said Conn. For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, Candie’s 1998 revenues were $93 million–a 107 percent increase over the previous year.
Candie’s has registered an average of 116 percent annual growth rate on earnings per share over the past three years, according to industry reports.