CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK - Davies updates Speedo’s look Speedo’s marketing chief is giving the brand a wider appeal, Jade Garrett says.

Gone are the days when Speedo meant those boring navy swimsuits worn by seriously sporty types at school swimming galas.

Gone are the days when Speedo meant those boring navy swimsuits

worn by seriously sporty types at school swimming galas.

The latest ads for the brand, created by WCRS (Campaign, 26 February),

aim to position the swimwear brand as ideal for escape - in or out of

the water.

Eve Davies, Speedo International’s marketing director, who is based at

the company’s headquarters in Nottingham, explains the strategy. ’We are

starting to show much more lifestyle in the brand,’ she says. ’While we

will never move away from our serious approach to sportswear, we have at

the same time recognised the huge opportunities in training swimwear and

the leisure sector.’

Speedo has spent the past couple of years developing a more fashionable

look for its range. It has also moved into beach and sportswear and

introduced sports underwear in technical fabrics.

’The latest advertising is more targeted than anything we’ve done

before,’ Davies says. ’There are eight press executions because we have

to appeal to so many different types of consumer.’

One execution promotes Aquablade, a fabric designed to reduce resistance

and increase speed in the water, while another features a fabric that

prevents swimwear becoming transparent when wet.

Speedo’s garments sell in 120 countries and are exported to 27 of those

from the UK. Davies had to be sure that the ads were capable of

communicating globally.

’The Speedo heritage differs greatly from country to country,’ she


’In the UK, for instance, the brand is renowned for its reliability and


Speedo is constantly increasing its market share and Davies can’t think

of a country that has registered a decline in sales. At the start of the

year, the company picked up a gold award at the British Export Apparel

Awards for exceptional export achievements, as well as winning the

Queen’s Award for Export in the previous year. And at last year’s World

Swimming Championships, 86 per cent of all swimming medals were won by

athletes wearing Speedo gear.

Davies first worked for Speedo in 1989 in New Zealand. ’I was on a bit

of a world tour and stopped off there to pick up some work,’ she


Later that year, back in England, she took a temping job at the

company’s Nottingham office, working in the technical and quality

control departments.

Three years later she moved up to product director. The marketing

director’s position became vacant earlier this year when Mark Hammersley

was promoted to director of special projects at Speedo’s parent company,

the Pentland Group. It was Davies’ combination of marketing and product

experience on the brand that made her the ideal candidate for the


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