Umbro enlists Exposure for casualwear range

Sportswear firm Umbro has brought in Exposure as it bids to revitalise interest among fashion journalists in its ongoing global expansion into casualwear.

The marcoms specialist was hired following a competitive pitch and is handling product placement and media relations to promote Umbro's collaboration with British menswear designer Kim Jones.

The agency, which replaces August.One Communications on the brief, said it was creating a 'communications platform' to support what Umbro calls its 'trend category' division as it bids to 'pave the way for future creative partnerships'.

An agency team led by consultants Susie Willis and Hannah Cambpell reports to Umbro marketing manager Simon Jobson.

Willis said the brief was to 'reinvigorate interest' in the company's 'sports-inspired casualwear'.

The spring/summer collection by Jones is already in stores and Exposure plans product placement with 'fashion and music industry people and non-mainstream celebrities, (plus) people in our network'.

One-to-one appointments for fashion journalists and stylists will be set up at its London showroom. Media relations is likely to peak this autumn, with the agency planning ahead for the spring/summer 2006 range.

Umbro recently unveiled a tie-up with designer Philip Treacy for a new clothing range. Umbro and Exposure said PR plans for this were yet to be decided.

Umbro's trend category division is a small part of the firm's overall business - but the Manchester-based company wants it to provide five per cent of global sales by 2008.

August.One continues to promote Umbro's core sports apparel goods, while Threepipe Communications handles PR around sponsorship of football teams such as England, Chelsea and Nottingham Forest.

Meanwhile, Jones's non-Umbro collection and personal PR continues to be handled by Bertrand Bize at KCD Paris.

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