Hummer emphasizes PR as it looks to gain foothold in shoe market

NASHVILLE, TN: EJ Footwear has hired Thompson & Baker Public Relations to handle a campaign for a new line of Hummer-branded shoes. EJ licensed the Hummer name from General Motors, and plans to roll out Hummer shoes in August.

NASHVILLE, TN: EJ Footwear has hired Thompson & Baker Public Relations to handle a campaign for a new line of Hummer-branded shoes. EJ licensed the Hummer name from General Motors, and plans to roll out Hummer shoes in August.

"Everyone knows what the Hummer brand is. Now we must educate them about what it is in footwear," said Gordon Saliman, Hummer Footwear president.

"This has to be done at the grassroots level, on the retail sales floor.

PR will be the biggest spend in our marketing mix."

Saliman wouldn't disclose how much he'll be spending with Thompson & Baker.

The agency has worked on other EJ brands such as Dickies. The agency's advertising side also has worked on a third EJ's brand, Georgia Boot.

"Our initial focus is on building awareness," said Ralph Berry, president of the Memphis, TN-based agency.

Early PR will focus on footwear industry publications and trade shows to build interest in the new line among retailers.

A next wave of PR will look to fashion and upscale titles, such as auto and travel magazines that have a high-income readership. The agency will also launch an aggressive product placement program for the brand.

Saliman said his target audience for the first line of Hummer shoes and boots is men making $125,000 a year and up.

"He's the authentic guy for the outdoors," said Saliman of his target market. The shoes will retail at $100-$300. Hummer men's shoes will debut in August. Lines for women and kids will follow in about 18 months.

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