Stride Rite Children’s Group Seeks Shop

BOSTON Stride Rite has begun soliciting agencies to pitch the advertising account of its children’s footwear group.

Julie Lehman, the division’s director of marketing, declined to disclose the budget, though she said advertising, direct marketing and online efforts are all planned. Ad spending has been in the mid to high six-figure range in recent years, per CMR, but sources said the client is looking to ramp up to the low seven figures.

Toth Brand Imaging, which has worked on that portion of Cambridge, Mass.-based Stride Rite’s business since 1995, declined to participate, said Dick Emerson, COO of the independent agency in Concord, Mass. He did not elaborate. Media chores with PGR Media are not part of the review.

Lehman said creatively driven agencies both large and small have been contacted. A decision is expected by mid-May, she said. No review consultant is involved.

Most of Toth’s recent work for Stride Rite has involved Keds sneakers. Toth in February unveiled a national print campaign for the brand with the new tagline, “My Keds.” Also in February, low-profile Cercone Brown & Co., Manchester, Mass., began working on the company’s Sperry Top-Sider line of boat shoes. Set to break in May from Cercone are ads for the newly launched Figawi shoe, tagged “Get wet.”

Stride Rite does not break out sales for its individual brands, but as a whole, the company enjoyed a 27 percent net income boost to $24 million in 2002 on flat sales of $532 million.