Rockport Seeks Shop for $7 Mil. Branding Task

Shoemaker Reaches ‘Turning Point,’ Wants Fresh Focus for 2000
BOSTON–The Rockport Co. is compiling a short list of agencies after parting company with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners.
Cutbacks at parent firm Reebok International–including last week’s announcement of the elimination of 120 jobs–is not expected to affect the review.
Reebok also said it is broadening the responsibilities of Angel Martinez, the former Rockport division president who was named chief marketing officer of Reebok Brands in October. Martinez assumes responsibility for marketing the Rockport, Greg Norman and Polo Ralph Lauren shoe lines, said Reebok representative Dave Fogelson.
Rockport official Stefanie Lucas said the cleint and Kirshenbaum parted company about three weeks ago after failing to come to terms on a new contract.
“I have nothing bad to say about them,” said Lucas. “We’re at a turning point and need a new direction, a new focus for spring 2000.”
The two sides were far apart on the issue of fees, sources said. When asked whether money was a factor, Lucas said: “It was not the single issue. Money comes into any discussion.”
Marlborough, Mass.-based Rockport has sent requests for proposals to a select few shops; the short list is being finalized, Lucas said. She estimated spending on next year’s branding initiative at $7 million.
The review is being conducted by Lucas, who reports to president and chief executive officer Terry Pillow and Collin Clark, vice president of marketing. Lucas said she expects to have a new ad partner aboard by the middle of October.
When Kirshenbaum was hired by Rockport in 1997, its mandate was “to make our brand hip, cool and urgent.” The New York-based agency used celebrities such as Spalding Grey, Muhammed Ali and John Leguizamo in a series of print executions tagged “Uncompromised.”
Rockport’s spending has ranged from $2.7 million in 1995 to a high of $7.1 million in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.