Ever noticed how international agency networks are getting smaller
these days? When Bean Andrews Norways Cramphorn won the Laura Ashley
account, it did so by picking off the might of Ogilvy and Mather at the
And it did this despite the fact that the first thrust of the new Laura
Ashley work was due to kick off in the US.
’I think the example of Bartle Bogle Hegarty has shown that
international business no longer has to be served by an international
agency network,’ says Robert Bean, a partner of BANC, ’as long as
everyone understands the difference between the originator of the
advertising on the one hand and the distribution on the other. And, of
course, as long as you have an enlightened client.’
Bean’s former agency, Bean MC, had a track record in this type of David
and Goliath relationship. Although smaller than his current agency, it
successfully handled a nine-nation European TV campaign for Velux Roof
Laura Ashley, of course, is a brand with a rather different
Now a true multinational with 500 shops across the globe, it had a
turnover last year of pounds 336.6 million. Bean’s challenge has been to
introduce the brand to new customers, without alienating women who have
grown up with it.
The result broke last week in magazines in the US, highlighting a new
strapline: ’If you think you knew Laura Ashley, think again.’ BANC chose
a US partner, Merkley Newman Harty, the New York-based Omnicom
subsidiary, to handle the local media planning and buying.
’The campaign’s all about making Laura Ashley seem more modern, relevant
and, dare I say it, more sexy,’ Bean says. ’Laura Ashley style is about
floral patterns and that will never go away, but we are taking the
opportunity to introduce some less fussy fabrics into this campaign.
’The perception of Laura Ashley is lagging behind reality and we hope to
change all that.’
If the campaign is well received in the US, BANC will take it around the
world into all Laura Ashley’s key markets.