Roster Shops Keep an Eye on Changes at Levi

Agencies are watching and waiting for fallout from Levi Strauss & Co.’s shakeup last week of its marketing team.
Some agency sources see the changes as good for TBWA/Chiat/Day, which handles the ailing Levi’s brand. CEO Philip Marineau, who joined the client in September, has ousted Rob Holloway, vice president brand development for the Americas, with whom TBWA/C/D had a strained relationship, sources said. Holloway was once considered the savior of the brand by client management, but “Marineau felt he did not have the experience and track record needed for the job,” said Jeff Beckman, a representative for Levi, San Francisco.
TBWA/C/D has survived multiple management overhauls since winning the flagship Levi’s jeans business from longtime shop Foote, Cone & Belding in January 1998.
“We are optimistic,” said Peter Angelos, creative director in San Francisco. “It gives us a chance to play on a level playing field.”
Two weeks ago, Holloway’s predecessor, Gordon Shank, was forced to resign as chief marketing officer, and his position was eliminated.
Other sources speculated the shakeup spells an opportunity for FCB, which handles Levi’s Dockers brand. Holloway’s successor, James Capon, has served as head of marketing for Dockers since 1993. Beckman said there are no plans to shift any assignments.
Capon’s appointment signals fast-growing Dockers’ growing importance within the company. FCB’s summer ad campaign was extended into the fall, and Dockers sales of late have partially offset the slipping Levi’s brand. Capon’s performance on Dockers shows he can “successfully reach out to young adults and women,” said Beckman.
Levi spent $29 million on Dockers ads last year and roughly $60 million on Levi’s, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
–with Richard Linnett and Andrew McMain