TORONTO: Apex Public Relations has been chosen as agency of record for jeans giant Levi Strauss, working on its Levi's and Dockers brands in Canada.
Apex competed against three Canadian agencies for the business. They were National Public Relations, ETC and Langdon Starr Ketchum. Ketchum handles PR for Levi's and Dockers in the US.
Levi Strauss has experienced fluctuating fortunes recently. In 1998, sales fell by around 13 per cent, resulting in the closure of 30 factories in North America.
But there is renewed optimism, following the company's fourth quarter 2000 results, released last month, which show that the sales drop had slowed to 8.5 per cent.
'The Levi's brand is much healthier than it was a year ago,' president and CEO Philip Marineau recently claimed.
Apex will work primarily on media relations, special events and stakeholder targeting, reporting to Levi's consumer marketing manager Victor Lam.
'There is a similar awareness of the brands in Canada as in the US,' said Pat McNamara, Apex president.
However, the Dockers brand is much less popular among Canadian women.
The principal early strategy will therefore include ways of targeting the female market.
Apex will work in conjunction with Levi's advertising agency, Harrod & Mirlin/FCB, to develop complementary programs.
Apex will also look for unique ways to target young consumers. 'With Levi's, it is about finding a way to reach youth because a lot of successful youth targeting isn't through traditional PR tactics,' said McNamara.
'They're not reading the papers. We are looking at some internet strategies and going where they are.'
McNamara credited Apex's small size and flexibility for securing the account.
'There is a trend in Canada towards working with smaller agencies,' she said. 'We've seen it going that way, especially if the company does not have an international need.'
She would not reveal the budget for the account, but said Levi's will be one of the agency's top three clients.