Levi's inks Apex to target Canada's young women

TORONTO: Apex Public Relations has been chosen as agency of record for Levi Strauss, working on the Levi's and Dockers brands in Canada.

TORONTO: Apex Public Relations has been chosen as agency of record for Levi Strauss, working on the Levi's and Dockers brands in Canada.

TORONTO: Apex Public Relations has been chosen as agency of record for Levi Strauss, working on the Levi's and Dockers brands in Canada.

Apex competed against three other agencies for the business. They were Canadian firms National PR, ETC and Langdon Starr Ketchum.

In the US, Ketchum handles PR for Levi's and Dockers.

Levi Strauss has experienced fluctuating fortunes recently, as fashions have changed. In 1998, sales fell about 13%, resulting in the closure of 30 factories in North America. But there is renewed optimism, following the company's fourth quarter results, released in January. The results show that the sales drop had slowed to 8.5%.

'The Levi's brand is much healthier than it was a year ago,' president and CEO Philip Marineau told Reuters. 'We've narrowed the sales decline.'

Apex will work primarily on media relations, special events and stakeholder targeting.

'There is a similar awareness of the brands in Canada as in the US,' said Pat McNamara, Apex's 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,' McNamara said.

'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 real trend in Canada toward 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 Apex's top three clients.



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