U.S. Shoe Steps Up Marketing Effort in Women’s Retailing

CINCINNATI – United States Shoe Corporation is breathing new life into its Women’s Specialty Retailing Group this month with a new centralized marketing unit charged with building the group’s six major store brands in traditional Procter & Gamble-esque style.
The renewed emphasis on some of its retailing units could mean more money for its stable of agencies, or possibly one agency if the company decides to consolidate its marketing efforts.
At the helm of the new division, to be based in Enfield, Conn., is Kerry Bradley, 35, who assumes the newly-created position of vp/marketing for the $1.4-billion retailing group this week. Bradley hails from U.S. Shoe sister division LensCrafters, where he was vp/marketing for two years of the company’s first centralized marketing effort. Bradley also carries six years at Procter & Gamble on his resume and sources say his strong brand-building work for LensCrafters garnered attention with U.S. Shoe execs and marked him as a rising star.
The dominant brand in the group is Casual Corner, according to Bradley. Advertising is handled in-house out of the Enfield, Conn. office, however, N.Y.-based Advertising To Women, Inc. worked on a fall campaign for the brand in 1991. Casual Corner has no other agency relationships at this time. Media billings for 1991 were approximately $1 million.
The other five divisions–Petite Sophisticate, Ups ‘N Down/Pappagallo, Caren Charles/Capezio, August Max Woman and Career Image Company Store – either did no image advertising last year or spent in the $100,000 range.
‘All of the divisions had what you could call marketing support staff, but there was no strategic marketing function in any of them,’ Sherman said. ‘We are going to be involved with classic brand management and really work to build these brands like they never have been before.’
Bradley said he is approaching his new position with an attitude that there are no sacred cows.
‘I may clean house and I may hang on to some of the resources that the divisions have been using, but it will be awhile before any major decisions are made,’ Bradley said.
Bradley said he has made no decision yet on whether or not he will look for one agency to handle a consolidated account.
He also said no decision has been reached on a successor for his position at LensCrafters. He declined to comment on the reported agency review in process at that division.
But his move into the new position may be the reason why LensCrafters has been on the fence on reviewing agencies for months. Leo Burnett Co. had done some project work for the retailer up until last March, but the agency and company split.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)