Children's shoe firm Start-rite seeks new agency for revamp

The children's shoes manufacturer Start-rite is searching for an advertising agency.

The company, which is the closest rival to the high-street giant Clarks, has opened dialogue with a number of agencies with a view to stepping-up its profile in 2004.

The Leicester-base agency HTA currently handles the Start-rite account.

The last major Start-rite advertising campaign was through Grey in 2000. The shoe manufacturer then spent £1 million on a press drive, showing Start-rite shoes in the form of sweets for children.

However, the brand's profile trails behind that of Clarks, which is currently running a high-profile television campaign developed by St Luke's.

In 1998 Start-rite ran a series of press ads showing adult celebrities coveting a pair of children's shoes.

The comedian Julian Clary was pictured clutching a multi-coloured sandal with a tear trickling down his face because the shoe is too small for him. Other ads in the campaign featured the rock singer Bryan Ferry and the model Caprice Bourret.

The 60s fashion designer Mary Quant was even pictured trying to squeeze her foot into a fur-trimmed child's leather boot. The ads explained that Start-rite shoes are "exclusively designed for children".

Start-rite launched the campaign to try to change consumer perceptions of the brand as old-fashioned.

The media account is currently handled by MediaCom.

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