Hickey Freeman Undergoes Spring Refresh With Help From Toth + Co.

Hickey Freeman is ready for its spring unveiling. Two years after Grano Retail Holdings purchased the brand during bankruptcy proceedings, the men's clothing brand has undergone a product design overhaul, built a new showroom, landed new distribution partners, and hired several key executives, including Negi Darsses, former vice president of marketing, Ralph Lauren. 

Now, Hickey Freeman and ad agency Toth + Co are introducing new branding and marketing to showcase Hickey Freeman's spring collection. Shot on location in Brooklyn, New York, the campaign features model Justice Joslin and was photographed by fashion photographer Yu Tsai.

The new work will be online and in publications including The New York Times and Details magazine. Supporting the creative are integrated marketing materials, such as hang tags, labels, swatch books, e-commerce and retail collateral. 



This makeover required a lot of research, according to the agency. After landing the account in March 2014, Toth + Co spent six months defining the Hickey Freeman Brand DNA through interviews with Hickey executives from all parts of the organization, as well as through trade interviews with retail partners.

Then Toth visited the Hickey Freeman archives, pulled up its old iconography and illustrations, pored over the fonts and lettering used over the years to develop fresh visual imagery. The agency also conducted consumer focus groups to refine and support the re-brand. 

Ultimately, agency executives found the brand has high awareness, but low relevance. As a result, the new Hickey Freeman attempts to honor its history as an American brand with contemporary resonance. 

The brand is also introducing an updated label, replacing the former burgundy background with a gold color scheme, inspired by tailor's tape, and "providing a necessary pop of color at retail.”

Toth also reimagined the logo to make it more contemporary, while still recognizing its longstanding history. The brand was established in 1899, and that date is used on select marketing materials. Hickey Freeman New York is also used in a majority of instances, advertising its 'Made in America' roots, as well as its connections to New York.

This year marks the first time in many years that Hickey Freeman will receive adequate marketing support. The brand’s ad budget was $162,000 in 2014 and $167,000 in 2013, according to Kantar Media. Ad bookings are up 29% year-over-year, according to executives.

Toth + Co is an independent, full-service branding and advertising company with over 30 years of experience in the fashion and lifestyle space, servicing clients such as Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, Keds, Nautica, Timex, Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, Wrangler, NYDJ, L.L.Bean and Hyatt brands.

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