Lee hands PR to Barkley

MERRIAM, KS: Jeans maker The Lee Co. has hired its first-ever PR agency of record, by taking on Barkley Evergreen & Partners to handle a PR program worth more than dollars 1 million.

MERRIAM, KS: Jeans maker The Lee Co. has hired its first-ever PR agency of record, by taking on Barkley Evergreen & Partners to handle a PR program worth more than dollars 1 million.

MERRIAM, KS: Jeans maker The Lee Co. has hired its first-ever PR agency of record, by taking on Barkley Evergreen & Partners to handle a PR program worth more than dollars 1 million.

Barkley has carried out work for Lee, a division of apparel maker VF, for the past five years on Lee National Denim Day, a breast cancer research fundraising event.

The jeans maker was so pleased with the firm's work on that project that Barkley was the only agency Lee considered for the agency of record spot, said Kathy Collins, VP of marketing.

While Lee has used Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, for its 'Buddy Lee' advertising campaign, Collins said that 'on the PR side, we probably have not done enough,' which led to the decision to take on an outside agency.

While declining to discuss specific PR spending, Collins said that the firm will double its PR budget in the coming year, spending between dollars 1 million and dollars 5 million. The company has an internal PR staff of two who report to Collins.

Lee has been pursuing a sub-branding strategy to gain sales in the market.

It has aimed Lee Dungarees at young men and Riveted by Lee at young women.

It recently rolled out Diva Doll jeans for teenage girls. 'We think the subbranding initiatives have worked very, very well,' Collins said. But having a variety of brands has led to 'a lot more messages' in the marketplace.

The company sees PR helping to refine brand positioning and also 'letting people know it's not just the same old Lee that it was 15 years ago,' Collins added.

Barkley will provide media relations, cause-related marketing and crisis communications services to the Lee brands while continuing to work on National Denim Day.



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