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David Lipman is switching allegiances in the denim wars.
This story first appeared in the October 26, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The fashion ad guru has ended his relationship with Hudson Jeans and has signed up to spearhead advertising for rival Seven For All Mankind, which is owned by VF Corp. The first foray from Lipman for his new client will come next month, when Seven For All Mankind will unveil the multiple components of its integrated spring campaign.
“It will have a number of moving parts in terms of film and print. It will communicate via storytelling,” said Lipman, chairman and chief creative officer of New York-based agency Lipman, hinting strongly that celebrities would be involved, both in front of and behind the camera.
“The campaign will center around Los Angeles and exporting an elevated California lifestyle to the world,” he added, referencing “Entourage” and “Shampoo” as examples of entertainment that successfully captured the essential magic of Hollywood and the West Coast lifestyle. “It’s the land of hope and promise and dreams.”
Lipman’s jump to Seven For All Mankind is notable in that he remains an investor in Los Angeles-based Hudson. Lipman was part of an investment group headed by Fireman Capital Partners that took a major stake in the denim maker in 2009. Along with that personal investment, Lipman took on creative direction of a high-profile advertising push by Hudson which resulted in the ongoing campaigns starring celebrity progeny Georgia May Jagger and Patrick Schwarzenegger.
Lipman was an operating partner at Fireman Capital Partners but his role there was terminated early this year. Around the same time, he began talks with Barry Miguel, who was appointed president of Seven For All Mankind in April, about taking on that brand’s advertising efforts.
Fireman Capital Partners is now seeking to unload its investment in Hudson. Lipman’s stake in Hudson will be cashed out when and if Fireman Capital Partners successfully concludes a deal for that investment.
Lipman and Miguel previously worked together on the Z Zegna business, when Miguel served as president of the Ermenegildo Zegna-owned label from 2002 to 2007. Lipman created the advertising for that younger, trendier label from the Italian suit maker.
“I can’t think of a better partner than David Lipman,” said Miguel of the upcoming Seven For All Mankind campaign. “We are in the right time and the right place to really explode what we’re doing. This is the moment in time to tell our story and reconnect with the consumer and speak to our brand relevance.”
Both Lipman and Miguel were guarded about details of the campaign, in order to maximize the impact of its release next month.
“We are going to create a total global brand across all the media platforms that exist today, in a unique and dynamic way,” said Miguel. “It’s no longer about a print ad that runs for a month. It’s about an ongoing story that unfolds continuously.”
The Seven For All Mankind account was previously handled by New York-based Chandelier Creative.
Lipman has grown to about 70 employees this year, up from the 38 the company was whittled down to during the recession. Lipman expects employee count to grow to 80 by the end of the year, as the company continues to add employees, particularly in the digital realm.
Revenue will be up 80 percent this year, according to Lipman, with new clients like Seven For All Mankind, Stuart Weitzman, Loft and the Talisker-Canyons resorts in Utah.
This spring, the agency restructured under new management following a buyout that saw the exit of previous chief executive officer Richard Lipman, who is David Lipman’s brother.
Andrew Spellman, an investment banker who was previously a general partner at Fireman Capital Partners, came in as ceo and a partner in the firm. Michael Mendenhall, previously chief marketing officer at Hewlett-Packard, also acquired a stake and took on the role of president and chief operating officer.
At Lipman, Spellman is also heading up an investment division that will take stakes in promising companies while taking active, synergistic roles in their marketing efforts, as well. Among the first deals was an investment in ProCamps, which operates fantasy sports camps for children and adults with professional athletes. Additional deals are close to culmination — including in the fashion arena — said the partners, who declined to provide details pending completion of the deals.